CBFC Rating : U
Run-Time : 2 Hrs 56 Mins
Release Date : 09-05-2018
Banner : Vyjayanthi Movies
Cast : Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer, Samantha, Vijay Deverakonda, Naga Chaithanya, Prakashraj, Naresh, Krish, Mohan Babu Avasarala Srinivas, Bhanupriya, Shalini Pandey, Malavika, Thanikella Bharani, Divyavani, Sandeep Vanga, Tharun Bhascker and Others
Music : Mickey.J.Meyer
DOP : Dani Sa Lo
Producer : Priyanka Dutt
Madhuravani (Samantha Akkineni), A journalist who works for Praja Vaani is assigned to cover story about Legendary Actress Savitri who was on her deathbed in 1980. Madhuravani aided with Vijay Antony (Vijay Deverakonda) gets the last letter written by Savitri. Curious about some details in the letter, Madhuravani tries to know and write a story about what really happened in Savitri’s life. This unfolds the life of Savitri, who rose to fame during 1950-60’s as a legendary actress. Her career as an actress, Her Lovestory with Gemini Ganesan (Dulquer) and how she lost all her money and ended up on a deathbed in her 40’s itself forms ‘Mahanati’.
Keerthy Suresh has just lived the character of legendary actress Savitri. Right from the first frame until the end, she never let’s go the part and takes us through the emotional journey. There are various shades in the movie that are beautifully portrayed without ever going overboard.
But the biggest test was to not come across looking like a weaker version or mimicking a legendary actress. Keerthy Suresh nails that aspect entirely. She is on her own and delivers a standout performance even when she is retaking the famous shots or recreating the moments. The Mayabazar sequence is the best example where we only look at her and her only. The second half is filled with scenes that are sure to bring tears. It is a performance of a lifetime and one that will be remembered for a long time to come.
Dulquer Salmaan gets to play a colorful yet caring character of Gemini Ganesan. He shines in the role that offers something more than the usual goodie-goodie hero types we see day in and day out. The chemistry he shares with Keerthy Suresh onscreen is tender and yet passionate without being too obvious about it. The act is a stellar one and will stay in the audience’s mind for sure.
Samantha plays a crucial role through whom the actual story unfolds. The way she dubbed for her role with stammering issue shows her commitment and chemistry with Vijay Deverakonda is fun to watch. Samantha’s performance in the climax shows her acting prowess. Vijay Deverakonda in a small yet important role is at his usual best. He shares great chemistry with Samantha.
Naga Chaitanya has done cameo. He is seen in the role of his grandfather as Legendary ANR. He is impressive and seems a perfect fit as young ANR. Among others Mohan Babu as SV Ranga Rao, Director Krish as KV Reddy, Srinivas Avasarala as LV Prasad, Prakash Raj as Chakrapani, Tharun BHascker as Singeetham Srinivas, Sandeep Vanga as Raghavayya added value and authenticity to the film with their performances. Rajendraprasad as Uncle, Bhanu Priya as Aunt, Divyavani as mother, Shalini Pandey as friend are quite impressive.
Keerthy Suresh Performance As Savitri
Dulquer As Gemini Ganesan
Samantha Akkineni & Vijay Deverakonda
Grand Production Values
After a smashing debut with a challenging subject Yevade Subrahmaniam, director Nag Ashwin returns with a bigger challenge. This time, he has a biopic of Savitri in hands. Biopics, usually are difficult to handle but when they are done right, an everlasting impact is felt. Director Nag Ashwin manages to bring that impact with Mahanati.
The film works on multiple levels, just like the narrative which takes places at different times. The present involving the journalist Madhurvani and Vijay Antony explore the past of an actress, a legend. It is narrated in such a way that the current gets educated about the history without ever getting the feeling of preachiness.
The actual story of Savitri garu also happens in a duality. One is the screen legend that we all know about with all the funny, and juicy factoids that are part of the folklore. The second is the off-screen romance between two stars. It is later, that forms the emotional anchor of the movie. And it is that arc that eventually makes the viewers overwhelmed in the end.
The first half of the movie is light and fun with real crackling chemistry electrifying the screen. The second half in comparison lacks the lighter moments, but it is this half that tugs our hearts the way things shape up. In the end, we can’t help but feel heavy-hearted and shed tears, and that is where the victory of the makers lie.
All the technicians have come up with the best effort. Musician Mickey J Mayer has given some haunting tunes. The background score takes effect further. The cinematography by Dani Sanchez-Lopez is extraordinary. The movie is a visual spectacle when depicting the movie world. Editing is sharp by Katagiri Venkateshwara Rao. Dialogues by Sai Madhav Burra are excellent.
It takes a lot of guts to think of a project of this scale and make it. Swapna Dutt and Priyanka Dutt deserve all the kudos for backing the project and helping in making the movie in an uncompromised manner. Daughters duo Swapna Dutt, Priyanka Dutt and Son-In-Law Director Nag Ashwin made their Dad Ashwini Dutt really proud with film like ‘Mahanati’. Seems like May 9th is a Special Date for Mega Maker C.Aswini Dutt. Exactly 28 years ago his Magnanimous film ‘Jagadeka Veerudu Athilokasundari Sundari’ starring Megastar Chiranjeevi, Sridevi in Darsakendrudu K.Raghavendra Rao’s Direction was released and went on to become Industry Hit. Now, after 28 years on the same day, May 9th an Epic Biopic ‘Mahanati’ released with tremendous reception. It is films like these that elevate the prestige of a banner and are remembered for ages.
Rating: A Classic For All Ages