Mahanati (2018)

Not Rated   |    |  Biography, Drama

Mahanati (2018) Poster

Biography of Savitri, an actress from South India movie industry, who ruled the industry for two decades during 50s and 60s.

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  • Dulquer Salmaan and Keerthi Suresh in Mahanati (2018)
  • Savitri and Keerthi Suresh in Mahanati (2018)
  • Malavika Nair and Keerthi Suresh in Mahanati (2018)
  • Keerthi Suresh in Mahanati (2018)
  • Dulquer Salmaan and Keerthi Suresh in Mahanati (2018)
  • Keerthi Suresh at an event for Mahanati (2018)

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14 May 2018 | rarunach
| Savithri - The Lioness!
Excellent movie that lives upto the expectations of a biopic about the legendary actress!

Let me start with what I remembered when I heard the name Savithri until I saw the movie. I remembered the queen of weepy movies that the kid in me didn't want to watch on a Sunday evening. I remembered my grandmother's heavy praises about her acting. I remembered her masculine acting in the movie Maya Bazaar, the movie I loved. I remembered mentions about her being a drunkard which made me wonder why would such a popular actress go mad like that. Little did I know that she was a fun-loving person with interest in race cars, a philanthropist and had so much complications with marriage and life but lived like a lioness until she fell prey for alcoholism.

I went to the movie expecting a linear narrative of Savithri's life story but was pleasantly surprised to see that the director Nag Ashwin decided to take us through the journey of a lady journalist in 80s who was covering Savithri's death (Two Period movies in one). Here I am thinking high about this young pony-tailed newbie director just for taking up such an attempt instead of the usual masala and he strikes me even hard with his attention to detail, unexpected comedy and handling of emotional scenes with finesse. It only makes me wonder how many producers are out there (other than his father-in-law who produced this movie) who can bankroll for this crazy guy's future ambitions. Needless to say he has been added to my short list of directors to watch for.

Keerthy Suresh! She really makes sure that nobody can brush aside her choice for Savithri as just by chance for being a close look-alike physically. While it's not a surprise that she shines in the early portions as a playful teenager which she has portrayed already in other movies, she also proves that she can deliver a plethora of emotions including fit of rage, helplessness etc. Her mimic-ing of 60s like facial expressions and jaw movements also help the role. I would have liked to see less of her teeth in some scenes though. But I have to say I expected more from Dulquer. I didn't see Gemini Ganesan's soft-spoken charm come across but he does score in later scenes while expressing frustration. Samantha does her part well but I am not sure what exactly others see as special in the climax scene. It was just usual.

Coming to the shortcomings of the film, I felt Nag could have tried to replaced certain scenes with just a dialogue/narration to avoid the awkwardness. For ex, the laddu eating scene right after showing her marriage problems, comical engagement scene of Samantha while the audience is trying to digest the fact that Savithri became an alcoholic. It's like eating dessert between sambar rice and rasam rice! Hope he will learn with more films how important it is to maintain the emotional state of audience. Oh and btw, padding actor's face with stuff just to show that she put on weight doesn't help with expressing emotions. Even Kamal did this mistake in Dasavadharam so I don't blame Nag much.

I have one burning question though. How does the story of Savithri (going from success to failure due to her "love" for a married guy who cheats her later) inspire Samantha to "kick"-start her love life opposing even her parents, I don't know. What would have been a perfect end to her story is if she develops courage to fight against male chauvinism inspired by Savithri. Poor Nag might have been worried about alienating male audience too much.

Overall, If you're crazy bugged about the formula movies that they're spinning nowadays and would like to spend some worthy time in nostalgia, go watch this movie.

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