Cast: Keerthy Suresh, Samantha, Dulquer Salman, Vijay Deverakonda, Rajendra Prasad, Shalini Reddy, Prakash Raj and others
Director: Nag Ashwin
It is not easy to bring a legend’s story to life on screen, but director Nag Ashwin has managed to do it in Mahanati. The biopic based on the life of legendary actress Savitri has been one of the most eagerly awaited movies of the year, and the director and the cast have done it justice.
While most people have either seen or heard of Savitri’s films and her exceptional acting skills, not many know about her life off-camera. Savitri (Keerthy Suresh) began her acting career and shot to fame at a very young age. She fell in love with popular Tamil actor Gemini Ganeshan (Dulquer Salman) and married him against her producer Chakrapani’s (Prakash Raj) advice. Marriage and motherhood led to the decline of the Telugu superstar’s popularity. Soon, she began to be troubled by personal issues and became addicted to alcohol.
The film covers all of Savitri’s life — from her childhood to her tragic end. After watching the film, it is clear that Nag has done an enormous amount of research on Savitri. He has done a great job of staying true to her story while keeping the movie entertaining and interesting. It was a masterstroke to have the film narrated from the point of view of a journalist.
It comes as a surprise to see such a young director and producers make a film based on the life of an actress who was popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s. They have managed to provide authentic glimpses of great moments from classic films such as Mayabazar, Devadasu, and Missamma.
The director has also successfully captured the essence of Gemini Ganeshan and Savitri’s romance. He takes the audience on an emotional journey along with the actress. The only major creative liberty that he has taken is to portray Ganeshan in a positive light, while most articles deem him the villain in Savitri’s life.
Keerthy Suresh as Savitri is the soul of the film. Her performance leaves audiences stunned. It is almost easy to believe that you’re watching the real Savitri in action. However many films Keerthy may do in the future, this will be one of her most memorable. Dilquer Salman is extraordinary as Gemini Ganeshan too and he actually gives more weight to the film. He is apt for the role and he lived in it.
Samantha, who plays a journalist, has done quite a good job, especially during the climax of the film. Her experience on screen is apparent in her performance. Vijay Devarakonda, though he has acted well, needs to work on producing variation in his diction.
The Telangana accent that he has used for all his roles so far is getting a tad monotonous. Rajendra Prasad as Savitri’s pedananna and Prakash Raj as Chakrapani have supported the leading actors well. And Directors Krish, Avasarala, Sandeep Vanga and Tharun Bhaskar all have cameos in important scenes of the film.
The dialogues written by Burra Sai Madhav are meaningful and moving, Avish deserves a pat on the back for creating the right atmosphere and old-world feel, and Mickey J. Mayer’s music and background score elevate the film. All in all, Mahanati is a must-watch, especially for members of the younger generation who are curious to learn more about the life of Savitri....