Mahanati review: Nag Ashwin pulls off Savitri's biopic brilliantly
Keerthy Suresh's performance makes this movie a must-watch
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Wednesday 09 May 2018
Mahanati review: Nag Ashwin pulls off Savitri's biopic brilliantly
Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha Akkineni, Vijay Deverakonda, Mohan Babu, Rajendar Prasad, Bhanu Priya, Shalini Pandey, Divya Vani, Srinivas Avasarala, Naga Chaitanya, Malavika Nair
Revered as the greatest actress of all-time in Telugu film industry, Savitri has been a standard gold for great acting for generation of actresses. Her performances are considered as master classes, a guide to follow. It's no wonder that the word ‘Mahanati’ has become synonymous with Savitri. Her era began in 1950’s. She ruled the golden period of Telugu cinema (1950-1960), acted with biggest stars of that era – NTR, MGR, ANR, Shivaji Ganeshan and Gemini Ganeshan, who later became her husband. She attained stardom equal to that of the greatest male stars. She earned lakhs of rupees, bought numerous buildings, jewellery and lands. She lived like a queen and wanted to lead a happy life with her husband who already had a wife and kids. However, all the money, fame and love was gone in a whiff by 70’s. She saw a companion in alcohol, succumbed to the addiction she died of an illness it caused. She was cheated by her own manager, relatives and neglected by her husband. Her life was well-chronicled by writers and journalists in books.
Director Nag Ashwin choose to tell the story of Savitri - the person. He has relied mostly on the life story available in books. However, he focused more on the drama between Savitri and Gemini Ganeshan, the marital life, less focused on her films. Since everybody knows what a great performer she is, he unveiled the drama of her life, what a genuine person she was.
The film begins in 1980 when Savitri fell ill due to her alcohol addiction. Then moves to the story of Madhuravani, the journalist who decides to pen the story of Savitri. As she researches, the life story of Savitri is presented on screen. Savitri’s story begins from her childhood in Vijayawada in 1940’s. The director takes too much of time to reveal her childhood episodes, her early attempts at auditions and acting assignments. The drama becomes thick and interesting only when Gemini Ganeshan enters in her life and she falls in love. Just before the interval, it glues as to the screen and the rest of the movie is told in an emotional manner.
The film reveals that Savitri all her life craved to know her father, to have a glimpse of her father’s face at least. Her addiction to alcohol and her turbulent marital life with Gemini Ganeshan is also explored deeply by the director. Nag Ashwin the director shows his depth and touch in these portions.
The film completely belongs to Keerthy Suresh. She is magnificent and exceptional as Savitri. This is a performance that she can be proud of for a long time. Her portrayal of Savitri is pitch perfect. The best performance comes when she finds the cheating of her husband. She is terrific here. As her husband Gemini Ganeshan, Dulquer Salmaan is excellent. He gives the best performance.
As a journalist, Samantha and her photographer lover Vijay Deverakonda are good. As Chowdhary, Rajendra Prasad is believable. The film has a huge ensemble cast to play many roles in Savitri’s life. Mohan Babu as SVR, Naga Chaitanya as ANR, Krish as K V Reddy, Tarun Basker, Avasarala….. some of them have got their roles right and some don’t. Shalini Pandey as Savitri’s childhood buddy has done a good job.
It is tough to recreate the old era. But the production design team has shown excellent work. The Vijaya-Vahini Studios and old-Madras sets are created neatly. They are flashy but believable. The camerawork by Dani is fantastic. His colour tones are varied. Music by Micky J Meyer is excellent. The song Mooga Manasulu is beautifully filmed on screen.
Dialogues by Sai Madhav are good at some places, theatrical at places. The production values are exceptionally well.
On the downside, the film has slow pace and lot of melodrama like the movies of the bygone era. There are some minor flaws too but all these can be excused as the movie is made with so much passion.
Watch the teaser here:
As a director, Nag Ashwin has told the story of Savitri in an emotional and poignant manner. His direction, his grip on emotions is outstanding. He shines in the emotional sequences. This is a tough film to handle but he has succeeded well. He has proved that he is another exceptional talent Tollywood has right now.
Mahanati is an emotional story of Savitri’s life on-screen. The off-screen persona of the actress is unveiled well. Terrific production design, beautiful handling by the director and above all exceptional performance from Keerthy Suresh make this movie a must-watch for all the movie lovers. Nag Ashwin pulls off Savitri's biopic brilliantly.
Mahanati review: 3.75 Stars
Reactions from Social Media:
rajamouli ss @ssrajamouli
@KeerthyOfficial’s potrayal of Savitri garu is one of the finest performances I've ever seen. It is not just imitating. She brought the legendry actress back to life. @dulQuer is absolutely fantastic. I am his fan now.
Vijay Deverakonda @TheDeverakonda
Watched #Mahanati Last night. What a life Savitri Garu had. And To Nag Ashwin and the team - take a bow. @KeerthyOfficial vere level killing - @Samanthaprabhu2 & @dulQuer super proud of your choices and my admiration! Cinema super hit - super hit kante oka super experience.
sudheer Aavula @sudheerAavula18
Take a bow @KeerthyOfficial
this movie will be one of her best performances @Samanthaprabhu2 amazing movie #Mahanatireview
Window Seat @sheru7
#MahanatiReview i loved this movie...her real life character is amazing...she lived life to the fullest..savitri garu true legend
@MaheshAchantaa monna #Rangasthalam , ippudu #Mahanati ..! Back to back super roles bro..! You are simply super in this movie. Congratulations bro and all the best for you upcoming projects. Really you done a great performance.. no doubt.. #MahanatiReview
Praneet Mysore @PeterSynamore
Mahanati was such a treat to watch. Enjoyed every single minute. @KeerthyOfficial & @Samanthaprabhu2 gave, by far, their career-best performances! Excellence-personified, both of them. #MahanatiReview
Sushanth Nallapareddy @sushanthreddy
#Mahanati is a masterpiece... with kirthy suresh giving a lifetime performance. dulquer salmaan is just unbelievable. This movie is love story more than a biopic. What an amazing span and music. Take a bow Nagi.
Damnnn @dulQuer is in full form...aadukuntunnadu scenes and the dubbing too..pitch perfect #Mahanati @SwapnaCinema @TheDeverakonda @TheDeverakonda @Samanthaprabhu2
Sai Rajesh @sairazesh
Excited to see a film after Bahubali 2
Vinay Pemmasani @vinaypemmasani
#Mahanati - My View:
A masterpiece - Classic!
@KeerthyOfficial top notch Performance!
Censor Reports @CensorReports
Portraying epic characters in a phenomenal way. Best told biopic in recent times.
Rating: A must watch film 3.5/5
Putham Pudhu Kaalai
Halal Love Story- A feel good entertainer
A ten-part web series that presents the rise and fall of 'The Raging Bull' Harshad Mehta
The only thing exciting about the film is the lead paid - Vikrant and Yami