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Keerthy Suresh: Mahanati Has Changed My Life & Career

Keerthy Suresh
Keerthy Suresh

Nothing had prepared Keerthy Suresh for the impact of her latest release. Mahanati directed by Nag Ashwin is a blockbuster .

The 25-year old Tamil-Telugu-Malayalam actress just can’t believe what is happening. “Audiences seem to have taken to the film in a very big way. Of course when I agreed to do Mahanati I knew we were on to something special. But nothing had prepared us in the Mahanati team for this kind of impact. We’re literally flooded with praise and compliments. It is something I’ve not experienced before.Not this extent.”

Of course Keerthy is no stranger to success and recognition. She has been doing Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films for the last 18 years. “I started as a child artiste in a Malayalam film Pilots. Of course when I started I knew nothing about camera angles,plot points etc. I just knew I had to be acting in films. Since my father(producer Suresh Kumar) was a producer it was easy to get my first few jobs as a child artiste.”

The real struggle for Keerthy began thereafter. “After the first few films I was on my own.I built my own career brick by brick. And now here I am.”

She finds it a little hard to believe that she initially had reservations about pulling off the role of the legendary actress Savitri in Mahanati. “Of course I knew about Savitri M’aam. Who in Southern Film industry doesn’t know about her? She is a legend . And of course it was very flattering for me to be offered the role.”

It was also frightening for Keerthy. “I was not at all sure I could pull off the character’s darker periods in life,specially the parts where she takes to drinking. I was not sure I could pull this off. But the director(Ashwin Nag) was sure.He had seen my Tamil film Thodari with Danush. And the way I performed in one particular song convinced him I could pull off the younger part of Savitri M’aam’s life, her innocence and sense of fun and mischief.”

Once Keerthy agreed then began the preparation. “The director sent me footage from Savitri M’aam’s films. He had segregated the scenes as ‘Happy’ ‘Dramatic’, ‘Comic’ etc. Watching these, and of course the whole of Maya Bazaar since we had to perform scenes from that film
in Mahanati I learnt what NOT do while playing Savitri M’aam. I was definitely not going to imitate Savitri Maam. To ensure that I played her my way I didn’t watch any more of her films.”

For all the hard work, nothing had prepared Keerthy for the success of Mahanti. “It is being seen an epic. There is so much love and affection for Savitri M’aam. We were not sure how the audience would react to the fatal flaws in her character. But the audience has embraced the film and Savitri’s life story with all her weaknesses.”

Keerthy feels blessed. “I couldn’t have asked for more. A role of a real-life character and that too someone so iconic and complex would have come to me after at least ten more years of experience. But I guess I was destined to play Savitri M’aam. Somewhere we all felt her
her presence guiding us in making this film.”

With success on this scale comes added responsibility. “I understand audiences expect me to be playing central characters more often. But they must understand that roles and films like
Mahanati don’t come along too often. I am equally happy to do the massy commercial films where the hero definitely has more to do than the heroine.My career in the future would be a balanced mix of commercial cinema and heroine-oriented projects.”

Keerthy warns that he forthcoming films do not feature her in central parts,. “They were all signed before Mahanati’s release. I must be honest in confessing that in my next three films Saamy 2,Sandakozhi 2 and Thalapathy 62 my leading men have a lot more to do than I do. So yes, those who expect me in central roles after Mahanati would be disappointed. I can only assure them that in future I will make sure I’ve substantial roles in all the films I
do.”

Mahanati and the tragic story of the icon actress Savitri’s downfall has taught Keerthy plenty about life. “It wasn’t easy playing Savitri. Her life was so eventful and so short. I learnt the value of family and friends. The entertainment industry can isolate you.I will never make the mistakes that Savitri M’aam did in her life and career.”

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