The year 2018 saw many big blockbusters, new directors, new concepts but what made it stand out was that the year belonged to actresses, rather than actors, playing strong female characters. Keerthy Suresh enacted the role of legendary actress Savitri in Mahanati and then Samantha played a village belle in Rangasthalam. Both these films were not only huge hits but brought critical acclaim to these actresses.
Rashmika Mandanna made her debut with Chalo this year and became a star overnight with the film Geetha Govindam. Anushka Shetty, the top actress of Telugu cinema, delivered a woman-oriented film Bhaagamathie and proved that woman actors too could bring in a crowd to theatres. Aditi Rao Hydari made her Telugu debut with Sammohanam and she got critically acclaimed for her role in it. Samantha continues her success with films like Mahanati, U Turn and her Tamil films, which are released in Telugu are also successful.
All these actresses proved that they too could perform equally along with the lead actors, while Anushka, Samantha and Keerthy Suresh proved their success with women-oriented films. Another actress Payal Rajput made her debut in Telugu with the successful RX 100 and played a negative role. Not only that, she went where few actresses have gone getting involved in the first proper lip-lock scene in a Telugu film.
Keerthy as mahanati
Mahanati was made on the life history of legendary actress Savitri and Keerthy Suresh played the role. This is the first Telugu biopic made on a Telugu actor and the film is not only a huge success all over the world, but also has given actress Keerthy Suresh a lifetime achievement for her performance. Swapna and Priya Dutt, daughters of popular producer Ashwini Dutt, produced this film and they revived their father’s Vyjayanthi banner with this success. It was made with a budget of `20 crore and collected nearly `45 crore from theatrical rights. The digital rights of the film sold out for nearly `25 crore and it is definitely one of the milestone films in Telugu cinema. Keerthy Suresh lived Savitri’s role and it will definitely be a memorable one for her and made her the lead actress of the year.
Wife hit, husband flops!
Samantha is successful both in Telugu and Tamil as most of her films are big hits and critically acclaimed. Rangasthalam, Mahanatii, (Abhimanyudu in Telugu) and her U Turn in Kannada also did well. But her husband, Naga Chaitanya, was a big flop. His two films Shailaja Reddy Alludu and Savyasachi failed to impress at the box office.