Mahanati Review & Rating|
The sky is the limit for possibilities when Mahanati was announced by the then budding director Nag Ashwin. It is his dream project he said. He also added that he wanted to make this epic biographical drama after gaining considerable experience. But dreams come true in unexpected ways.
Nag Ashwin was given the chance to pull his dream off into the reality by the Dutt Sisters Swapna and Priyanka. Stars aligned in such a way that sincere attempts never go out of sync with the audience and Mahanati gained traction with even the staunchest of Savitri fans from yesteryear.
Doubts cropped up when the relatively inexperienced Keerthy Suresh was cast as the Mahanati. Nithya Menen seemed to have missed a golden opportunity. Nag Ashwin saw Keerthy as the perfect choice for portraying the beloved Savitri and convinced almost everyone with the first look and teaser. Thus, Mahanati happened with a highly talented ensemble cast. The audience were transported into a bygone era fondly remembered.
The doubts about the way the movie will pan out are allayed right from the first frame. Calling Mahanati a celebration of Savitri’s life would be an understatement. Samantha joined the party as Madhuravani a journalist who unearths various aspects of Savitri's life and Vijay Devarakonda is a perfect foil for her.
How the story unfolded
Now we have to talk about how this movie is unfolded because that is what makes or breaks films like these. Madhuravani, perfectly portrayed by Samantha, is a fledgling journalist in the early 1980s. She was tasked with the finding the reasons behind legendary actress Savitri's condition at the time, she was in the coma. Vijay Devarakonda as Vijay Anthony joins Madhuravani in finding out various aspects of the life of the Mahanati.
Madhuravaani goes from place to place and person to person. She encounters comments like her generation knows nothing about Savitri other than the fact that she was once a great film star. The same holds true for this generation too. Hence, Mahanati is as important for the current generation as it is for the generation of the 1980s. We watch the life of Savitri through the lenses of Madhuravani and it delights us and saddens us equally well to know the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows of the favourite actress of Teluguland.
Keerthy Suresh might have stepped on an old fox or such is her luck to play the role of the greatest actress of all time arguably. She blasted all the doubts about her portraying a fascinating character as Savitri by not only resembling her in appearance but also her persona. We have to talk about the biopic of the great Charlie Chaplin by Richard Attenborough here.
The Gandhi director Attenborough cast Robert Downey Jr. as the legend Chaplin. A hot-headed youngster at the time and relatively inexperienced owned the character of Chaplin in such a way that even Chaplin's granddaughter couldn't stop the tears of appreciation for the actor. The makers even risked showing Downey's portrayal of Chaplin and Chaplin's footage side by side towards the end. Such was Robert Downey Jr.'s performance.
Now, coming to Keerthy Suresh, she breathed life into Savitri on the screen. Like Ganga became Chandramukhi (the comparison may be forgiven) she became Savitri. Her work in this movie has a tremendous scope and she had done justice to every inch of it.
Next, we have to talk about Dulquer Salmaan. Boy, what an actor he is! Savitri married Gemini Ganeshan recreated in a terrific manner by Dulquer Salmaan. He became the Kaadhal Mannan of Tamil Cinema. His chemistry with Savitri, I mean Keerthy Suresh took the movie to the next level. Hw is a natural. This Malayali duo portrayed the legends of Telugu and Tamil Cinema like never before. Its a treat to watch them through their good, bad, and the ugly memories.
Samantha, one of the biggest stars of South Indian Cinema relegated herself delightfully to a back seat as the journalist who delivers us the story of Savitri, Madhuravani. Interestingly, Madhuravani is a character played by Savitri in the movie Kanyasulkam. Samantha has time and again proved herself to be the actress of the generation even with the slightest chances, and she nailed the character is an understatement. Vijay Devarakonda as Vijay Anthony who helps Madhuravani unfold the story of Savitri is fantabulous.
Senior actor Nata Kireeti Rajendra Prasad is a value addition to Mahanati. He did justice to the role of Savitri's uncle who brought her up during her childhood and the early part of her career. No words can describe the feeling when we watch him on the big screen. Shalini Pandey as the friend of Savitri, Susheela, is superb.
Legions of film technicians like Krish Jagarlamudi, Sandeep Reddy Vanga, Srinivas Avasarala, and actors who are legends on their own right like Mohan Babu (as S. V. Ranga Rao), Prakash Raj (as Chakrapani, we have to say his styling was a bit odd, to be frank), Bhanupriya all took part in creating history and made even the simplest of the cameos memorable.
The dreamer Nag Ashwin
Nag Ashwin should be patted repeatedly for conceiving such an ambitious project. It is his dream venture aptly supported by the producers who brought heaven to the earth in making this beautiful film. He narrated this story in an objective way. He never took sides and visualised what's there for the most part. He had shown the highs and the lows of the legendary actress in this sprawling movie. He took the old timers on a nostalgic trip and introduced to the newcomers a top class actress with aplomb.
Gem of a cinematographer Dani
The cinematographer Dani Sanchez-Lopez must be appreciated for his work. Brilliant is a small word for him. We have to create a new word for describing his colour palettes, framing, and lighting. As he discussed in an interview, Dani lifted the movie's atmosphere on his shoulders. Deserves a national award. He is the find of the decade. This Spanish cinematographer showed the difference in various time frames in the movie in an apt manner.
The other technicians
Mickey J. Meyer's songs are great to listen and elevated to the next level by the lyrics of Sastry duo (Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry penned four songs while Ramajogayya Sastry provided the lyrics for one song). The background score is soothing. Editing by the experienced hand Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao is good. There are no unnecessary jerks and the transitions are done well. All the scenes that might bore a certain section of audience don't need trimming as they are necessary.
Production values by Swapna Cinema and Vyjayanthi movies are grand. Every penny was well spent. The art department did a commendable job. This is the fourth greatest work in 2018 by a movie's art director.
No words, just go and watch it
On a whole, Mahanati is a fitting tribute to the legendary Savitri. The first half is a breeze of fresh air with Savitri's highs and her love story with Gemini Ganeshan. The second half is deep with emotions and her downfall. Whatever the situation, the director handled it very very well. Just go and watch the movie. You won't be disappointed even with high expectations.
Mahanati Critic Reviews
Mahanati User Reviews
Watched Mahanati .. Take a bow - the team ., #nagashwin - thanks for the wonderful tale , #keerthysuresh - I just saw Savitri .., not you at all , #mahesh (Satamanambhavathi mahesh) - ninnu thittukunna antha naa jeevitham lo evarini kuda thittukoledhu , #dulquersalmaan - such practicality and nice moments without harnessing negativity I couldn’t praise less anyone in the team who did very cliche and nice roles ... Hail the the team !! Hail the tale (it’s not a movie, I believe ) !!
Superhit movie and all of us should watch the movie
Never before... Ever after
Ohho!!! Mahanati is in the theatres today and everyone's all eyes to watch the biopic of the favorite actress of Teluguland. This Nag Ashwin's directorial venture stars Keerthy Suresh as the beloved yesteryear actress Savitri. Populated by an ensemble of talented cast, Mahanati early morning shows are underway and the movie is getting a positive response from the viewers. The chemistry between Dulquer Salmaan and Keerthy Suresh as Gemini Ganeshan and Savitri seems to mesmerise the audience.
Good movie. Everybody did their part good, standing tall among all Keerthy & Dulkar Salman gave knock-out Performances. It’s so so appreciative of Mahanati team to bring the celluloid queen mahanati SAVITRI gaaru to life. kudos to team 🙏🙏🙏— Dr. PrasadReddy (PB) (@pb_tfi_fan) May 9, 2018
A content driven summer for TFI.
Watching #Mahanati , Director Naga Ashwin takes me into Savitri gari era, what a film @KeerthyOfficial is blessed to do this role, she just lived in it, @chay_akkineni as ANR garu superb, congratulations Swapna garu & team it's another experience— Maruthi dasari (@DirectorMaruthi) May 9, 2018
Reports are coming out and the positive feedback continues for Mahanati. Deservedly Kerthy Suresh and Dulquer Salmaan are getting unanimous acclaim from the audience. By the time Matinees rolled out, Mahanati is declared a classic.
Hardwork never fails :)) What a treat to watch @dulQuer and @KeerthyOfficial in #Mahanati !! A must watch epic movie ! dQ essayed the Gemini Ganesan role magnificently !! 👏👏🤩🤩 Superb Entry to Telugu Industry 👏kudos to all team of #Mahanati 👏👏 #DulQuer #DulQuerSalmaan pic.twitter.com/Veb1bYnPiD— Basil Elias (@basil4u) May 9, 2018
#Mahanati is one of the best examples to say it again that our Telugu Cinema is shining with brilliant filmmakers. Congratulations @KeerthyOfficial @Samanthaprabhu2 @TheDeverakonda @dulQuer @VyjayanthiFilms & the entire team of #Mahanati . It’s a MASTERPIECE!!!! pic.twitter.com/vOOc40Vn9C— Vamsi Kaka (@vamsikaka) May 9, 2018
Industry bigwigs like S. S. Rajamoli heaped praise on Mahanati team and crew. The general audience, especially the yesteryear fans who grew up with Savitri went on a nostalgic trip while the newer generation of the audience felt great to know the story of this beloved actress. Mahanati is hailed as a fitting tribute to the legendary actress Savitri.
Congratulations Nag Ashwin and Swapna. Your belief, persistence and determination are remarkable. #Mahanati— rajamouli ss (@ssrajamouli) May 9, 2018
Nag Ashwin & team, thank you for bringing this wonderful story to the screen. #Mahanati— sangeetha devi (@Sangeetha_Devi) May 9, 2018
By the time evening shows got underway, Mahanati stands as a perfect example of a biopic. The movie is acclaimed left right and centre by every section of movie goers. The cast, the crew, and the producers deservedly got great feedback for their authentic work.
Executing the life of a wonderful human & actress in a beautiful way is a challenge & y’all did best! Congratultions team #Mahanati! Special shout out to Swapna & Priyanka Dutt! May women continue to rule. @KeerthyOfficial @Samanthaprabhu2 @TheDeverakonda @dulQuer @themohanbabu— Lakshmi Manchu (@LakshmiManchu) May 9, 2018
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. pic.twitter.com/WdG0hFfyPq— Vijay Deverakonda (@TheDeverakonda) May 9, 2018
Even with the dust settled after the first day shows Mahanati is getting a great response. New generation audience flocked to the theatres to know about the greatest actress of Teluguland and old generation viewers are going for a nostalgic trip. All in all, Mahanati is like a poetic love letter to Savitri for all her fans.
What is Mahanati about?
Mahanati is a word not often used nowadays. It reminds us, every South Indian, with the slightest bit of film knowledge of only one person. Savitri! When Nag Ashwin announced that he is making a film on Savitri, he surprised everyone with his audacity. A movie on the life of the Mahanati?
Swapna and Priyanka Dutt took a great risk of making a film of such tremendous scope and scale. They stood by their belief and the dream of the director Nag Ashwin and now we are getting ready to watch Savitri. Mickey J. Meyer composed the musical score for this biopic while Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry penned the lyrics.
What to expect from Mahanati?
Savitri All the way
Savitri was not just an actor. She was a cultural phenomenon. A benchmark to every actress following her. As superstar Amitabh Bachchan stated, Savitri was one of the first actresses with unbelievable spontaneity. Is that the only thing about Savitri? Leave aside her kind heart and her personal life. Just take her as the actress she was. Take for example movies like Ardhangi, Maya Bazaar, Devadasu, Kalathur Kannamma and many other films as proof.
Savitri had an extraordinarily great memory. She always remembered her dialogues and planned her roles well in advance. According to those who worked with her revealed that she had never rehearsed before going for a shot.
One of the most appreciated qualities of Savitri was her ability to maintain poise, timing, and rhythm while giving her shots. Especially her impersonation of S. V. Ranga Rao's Ghatotkacha and pulling it off convincingly in Mayabazar was the hallmark of her ability.
Above it all, despite the scandal that always seemed to surround her, Savitri was professional. She always put aside her personal beliefs if the scene called for it. She was a staunch Hindu in her real life but she acted as Mary in Missamma, a deeply religious Catholic girl and mesmerised the audience. But above all, when one thinks of Savitri, one thinks of how captivating she was, convincing in every role she played, with a spellbinding poetic beauty. One has to watch her display to believe.
All these qualities made Savitri once in a lifetime actress. Arguably the best Teluguland has produced. Her charm spanned boundaries, and she won an equal acclaim in all the film industries she touched. Savitri was the pinnacle of Telugu beauty. When Keerthy Suresh was selected to play, there were doubts how this relatively inexperienced actress can pull of such an unimaginable feat of representing an actress of Savitri's stature. With what they have shown us, the makers seem to have succeeded to the most extent. Kerthy Suresh resembled Savitri and made the older audience remember their favorite star.
Highly talented ensemble cast
Apart from Keerthy Suresh in the title role, Mahanati boasts of some of the most talented actors from South Indian films. Samantha! Dulquer Salmaan! Vijay Devarakonda! Rajendra Prasad! Bhanupriya! Tanikella Bharani! All these played starring roles. When it comes to cameos, Krish Jagarlamudi has the most surprising one. This highly acclaimed director played the role of arguably the greatest Telugu director of all time K. V. Reddy.
An actor of the stature Mohan Babu played the role of the legendary S. V. Ranga Rao. Prakash Raj played the role of famous producer Chakrapani. What can you want more than Naga Chaitanya played the role of his grandfather Akkineni Nageswara Rao? Highly rated actor Naresh played the role of Gummadi. Top heroine Anushka Shetty played the role of Bhanumathi.
Now to the cameos of the who and whos of the yesteryear Telugu Cinema of Savitri times. Srinivas Avasarala played the role of L. V. Prasad. Sandeep Reddy Vanga played the role of Adurthi Subba Rao. Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam enacted the role of Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. All this promises to be an exciting journey and we will be part of history as advertised by the makers.
Nag Ashwin and his team
It is not a small thing to dream to make a movie like Mahanati. To direct a movie about an actress who made an imprint on the hearts of generations of audience. He assembled not only some of the best actors of this time but also he teamed up some of the best technicians.
Mickey J. Meyer proved himself to be a music director of class. His music is an asset to the movie. Sirivennela Seetharama Sastry provided the lyrics for four songs and Ramajogayya Sastry penned the title song. All the songs received positive feedback and the lyrics of the Sastry duo added value to the music composed by Meyer.
The cinematography is handled by Dani Sanchez-Lopez, the Spanish cinematographer, tested different cameras, lenses, filters, colours and looks until and arrived at the final visual design. Some of the scenes in the movie are shot on film. All this takes us through different time periods.
Production values by Vyjayanthi Movies and Swapna Cinema surely promise Mahanati to be a visual feast. Vyjayanthi Movies is known for great and grand production scale. Swapna Cinema of Priyanka and Swapna Dutt delivered a movie like Yevade Subrahmanyam in the past.
Watch this space for Mahanati review, rating and complete analysis. Be right back!