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Poorna – Movie Review

Some films ought to be made! Some stories ought to be told! “Poorna” is truly one such. The film has been in theatres for two weeks now, and has great rating on BookMyShow too but I did not see many people talking about it. That’s sad! It’s particularly sad when people talk about crappy movies because they are made with/by star artistes and/or star directors but not about such efforts! This is the story of a girl who was born in Telangana region just at about the same time the agitation for the separate state of Telangana started, and the girl unfurled the National Flag on the highest point of the planet only two weeks before the state formed, and the girl was awarded ₹25,00,000 by the CM of Telangana. Yet, not many people in the state of Telangana knew about this biopic! Sad, really!

Poorna Malavath was a few weeks short of being a 14-year old girl from a Telangana village (Pakala) when she hailed the Indian National Flag on the summit of the Mt. Everest! She thus became the youngest girl in the world to have scaled the highest peak of the world, along with Anand Kumar Sandhanapally. Both Anand and Poorna were students of the (then) A.P. Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions. Thanks to Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar, an IG-cadre IPS Officer, who took charge as the Secretary of Social Welfare Society, such a pathbreaking feat was possible for two scheduled-communities students of lower social strata! The film is said to be 85–90% similar to the original story (except for the introduction of a fictitious character, about which I have my guesses but I am not offering any spoilers).

The journey of Poorna is moving, inspiring, and …felt it was too short. The real-life scenarios around the life of Poorna before and after the Everest do not get much of a screen time. 15 minutes short of a two-hour film, “Poorna” does a very appreciable job in taking the audience through the lives of Poorna Malavath and Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar. I had not seen Rahul Bose’s directorial debut 15 years ago, but I am glad, very glad that he returned to direction with this film! None of the acting or technical performances are over the board or unnecessarily dramatic, ever! In fact, the film is so subtle that I had to Google my way to understand that “SWAROES/SWAEROES (“No Reverse Gears)” refers to the name and tagline of Students/Alumni Association of Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society and that it is not some in-film branding and same goes with “Transcend Adventures”, seen on trainer Shekhar Babu’s t-shirt. (He is one of the Founding Directors of the organization really.)

Rahul Bose as Dr. Praveen Kumar has done a very good job, while Aditi Inamdar (also from Telangana actually) assayed the role of Poorna Malavath. Harsha Vardhan, who the Telugu audience essentially known for his comedy (and writing skills), appeared as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (as N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, if you will) and enacted the role with appropriate dignity. Mariya as Priya did a very good job in a role that required playfulness and sudden maturity, and Gyanendra Tripathi played believably the role of Shekhar Babu Bachinepally, the trainer for Poorna and Anand (who still runs the Bhongir Rock Climbing School). The rest of the cast too fit into their roles very naturally. Manoj Kumar as Anand did not have much of a role to play but he does his job well. I agree he did not create a world record, but the film could have thrown some light on him too. (I know, I know, the film is titled “Poorna” and not “Poorna-Anand” or something!) The visuals and music stand out, and the dialogues impress. It’s the producer-director Rahul Bose’s idea to not include subtitles even for the short Telugu phrases interspersed in the conversations, and that should not be a problem! (Rahul Bose must be appreciated for the fact that even he spoke the Telugu words himself in the Hindi version.)

The roles of Dr. Praveen Kumar and Shekhar Babu can be particularly very inspiring and eye-opening to many teachers – that it is important to create opportunities before expecting outcomes and that it is important to encourage young minds to scale new heights instead of constantly pulling them down! Rahul Bose and Gyanendra Tripathi do a commendable job on that front and the makers must be appreciated for such a meticulous treatment of the characters.

“…poverty is no barrier once opportunities are created,” the real-life Dr. Praveen Kumar told the news media, as the Poorna-Anand duo camped at the Camp 2 on their way to the peak. The film must be appreciated for maintaining subtlety in translating this modest reality onto the celluloid (uh oh, digital storage!). The girl has reached the highest point of the world, the film has reached the highest office of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan… but would it reach the audience all over? (The Hindi version was available on BookMyShow for two weeks but the Telugu version was not available until recently, I wonder why. I watched the film in Hindi.)

A proper biographical movie must be appreciated with links to the real stories also, and I take the opportunity as the Reviewer to portray the dedication of Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar, which continues beyond Operation Everest for Poorna Malavath! On-screen text after the film says how the number of applications has risen high for TSWREIS after the Operation Everest, and Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar continues to inspire and lead – through facilitating a 31-member group of under-15 summiteers climbing the Mount Renock (17,000 feet) in 2015 and beyond.

Ten Commandments of SWAEROES, as given by Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar:

(Referred to by Anand Kumar in news, post Operation Everest:

TSWREIS proudly claims Operation Everest now!

31 Students climb Mount Renock!

Interview with Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar on MANA TV: and

–  Guest Review by NaChaKi

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