Connect with us

Featured

Mahanti Movie Review: It Is A Befitting Tribute To A Legend

Subhash K . Jha

Published

on

Mahanati(Telugu with English Subtitles)

Starring Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan,Samantha Akkineni,Vijay Devarakonda

Directed by Nag Ashwin

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Truth, they say, is often stranger than fiction. Many episodes from the legendary Telugu-Tamil actress Savitri’s life may appear bizarrely improbable.And yet—herein lies the truth—what we see in this sprawling,flamboyant, swaggering spectacular bio-pic is what really happened in the legendary actress’ life.

Give or take the flourishes of fantasy that run sharply through this tell-all tale told with flair and feeling. In a stroke of sheer ingenuity the scriptwriter has woven a fantasy-romance between two journalists(Samantha Akkineni and Vijay Devarakonda) unraveling the story of the iconic actress who gave Tamil and Telugu cinema their first female superstar.

She had it all, and then she lost it. Savitri’s saga is a familiar riches-to-rags one,here brought to life with a vividness and vivacity that never fight shy of extravagance.

It’s all here,packed together in a series of deftly-written anecdotal sequences which jump into one another in an uneasy and furtive embrace of fact and fiction. Though the film is almost three hours long, our interest-level never flags. How can it, when the subject is such a mercurial creature of caprice?

Siddharth Sivaswamy’s screenplay screams for attention in every frame.And yet there is nothing aggressively inflated about the narrative. The larger-than-life-ness of the plot has to do with subject . Savitri, as played with endearing impunity by Keerthy Suresh, is a childlike creature of whimsy: demonstrative,emotional, mischievous , self-destructive, all heart and generous to a fault. These qualities stood Savitri in good stead on camera but betrayed her in real life.

Bravely the film doesn’t gloss over the unpleasant aspects of Savitri’s life. The marriage to the much-married Tamil matinee idol Gemini Ganesan (played with an endearing vigour by Dulquer Salman) and the subsequent clash of egos, her lapse into alcoholism and her eventual plunge into penury are all dealt with a certain beguiling blend of melodrama and poignancy.The mix can be infuriatingly overblown for the uninitiated but highly satisfying for those who are familiar with the drama of deceit depression and descent that governs many success stories of the entertainment world.

Director Nag Ashwin demonstrates a surprising level of maturity in apportioning flamboyance to the real-life tale. The film is shot with a dash of adrenaline which constantly pumps up the drama without distorting the credibility of the proceedings.

The performances are constantly compelling . Samantha Akkineni and Vijay Devarakonda(the latter in a very limited but appealing presence) bring to their investigative reporters’ role from the 1980s a touch of the wispy and wacky without forfeiting a claim to being genuinely interested in the legendary actress Savitri’s life story.However Samanth’s outburst at the finale where she kind of reads out a homage to Savitri straight to the audience, doesn’t work.

Keerthy Suresh’s Savitri is an imp, a coquette, a child and a giver . The actress replicates the original’s physicality and sensitivities without allowing her performance to get excessively imitative.Dulquer Salmaan’s Gemini Ganesan is a masterly portrayal of the male ego swathed in superficial compassion . Again, like Keerthy, Dulquer steers the performance away from being imitative.

There are memorable cameos from many including Nag Chaitanya playing his grandfather Nageshwara Rao. Director Nag Ashwin makes telling use of the references and props from the 1950s , 60s , 70s and 80s to not only recreate the flavour of those times but also to reflect on why those times are so distant and faded from memory.The songs and footage from Savitri’s heydays are mercifully moderately used.

There is an intrinsic hollowness and hypocrisy in the way a successful woman professional was treated by those whom she trusted. Savitri never failed. Those around her did.Mahanati celebrates a life that finally failed because of its generosity.

​A shout-out to the technicians , the cinematographer ​Dani Sanchez-Lopez , art director Kolla Avinash and production designer Shivum Rao for bathing every era and each frame with the elixir of life without letting us forget the sheer cinematics involved in making a life as tumultuous and inspiring as Savitri’s flicker on the screen with a pulsating imminence.
​And thank you to all the brilliant actors, big and never small, who come together to tell a story that had to be told. ​

We owe you one.

Must Read

Entertainment6 hours ago

Karan Oberoi’s Accuser Arrested

The  woman who accused  singer-actor Karan Oberoi of   sexual transgression  has been arrested for lodging  a false complaint against  Oberoi. The...

shah rukh khan shah rukh khan
Entertainment7 hours ago

Shah Rukh Khan, Son Working Together In A Movie

 But not in the  way we would like them  to. Hang on, though. It’s still exciting enough . Apparently  Shah RukhKhan...

Entertainment7 hours ago

Murder Mystery: Aniston,Sandler Attempt To Lift A bad Film

Murder Mystery(Netflix) Starring Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler Directed  by  Kyle Newacheck Rating: **(2 stars)  Cruising  along in this corny-going-on-obnoxious  takeoff on the Agatha...

Featured1 day ago

Ranbir Kapoor No Release In 2019, Only 1 Release In 2020 Here’s Why

In spite of the blockbuster status accorded to his last release Sanju, Ranbir Kapoor has not gone on a signing...

News & Interviews1 day ago

Akshay Kumar Miffed With Rohit Shetty?

All is not well between the bonding-for-a-blockbuster duo of actor Akshay Kumar and director Rohit Shetty who have started shooting...

Featured1 day ago

Coolie No 1 In London,Ha Ha Ha

David Dhawan’s remake of Coolie No 1 is to be shot in London. Considering there are no porters in any...

Bollywood News2 days ago

Have Deadlines Killed Our Conscience?

 Is that why they’re called dead-lines?  Have deadlines killed our conscience?  Have we media-persons become uncaring insensitive news  maniacs? How ...

Featured2 days ago

Karan Johar’s Quickie Scheme To Reimburse Kalank Losses

 The  horror  franchise which  Karan  Johar has  kick-started  with a  bang  by announcing  Bhoot, is  a loss-compensating  strategy, meant to  minimize  the  financial setbacks...

Entertainment2 days ago

Priyanka Chopra Gets Even With Salman Khan

Salman Khan being Salman Khan, it surprised  no one  to know  that he kept taking continuous  potshots at PriyankaChopra for opting out  of Bharat  at...

Hrithik Roshan On Kanganas Nepotism Debate Hrithik Roshan On Kanganas Nepotism Debate
Entertainment3 days ago

Embarrassment For The Roshans Increases With The Kangana Factor

With Kangana  Ranaut’s vocal sister  Rangoli’s tweet suggesting that Hrithik Roshan’s sister Sunaina has been calling Kangana  to offer secret and silent support  in Hrithik-Kangana war, the  Roshan family now...

Bollywood News3 days ago

Priyanka Chopra Has Serious Competition In Her Married Life

 It’s not easy being married to the eldest  son of a  successful entertainment family in America. This  tragic truth Priyanka Chopra—and now...

Featured4 days ago

Hema Malini Speaks On Being A Grandmother Again

“I am a Naani all over again,” beams my favourite Dream Girl hours after her elder daughter Esha gives birth...

Featured4 days ago

Embarrassment For The Roshans Increases With The Kangana Factor

With Kangana Ranaut’s vocal sister Rangoli’s tweet suggesting that Hrithik Roshan’s sister Sunaina has been calling Kangana to offer secret...

Featured4 days ago

Fall-out Between Vashu Bhagnani & David Dhawan Is A Media Myth, Says David

This is a producer-director combination that could most comfortably be certified as the entertainment industry’s Jodi no.1. Producer Vashu Bhagnani...

Featured4 days ago

Vijay Deverakonda “ I Want Kabir Singh To Be A Massive Blockbuster”

Sandeev Vanga who redefined the Telugu cinema’s hero with Arjun Reddy is ready with its Hindi remake Kabir Singh ....

Featured4 days ago

Buddy Buddy Baatein: Here’s looking at the 10 most celebrated friendship films of filmdom.

Dosti(1964): Long before Friendship Day was invented and much before Bikram and Bala, that is Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor...

Movie Reviews5 days ago

Game Over Takes Tapsee To Level Next

Game Over Starring  Tapsee Pannu, Directed  by Ashwin  Saravanan Rating: ****(4 stars) There is blood on the hands of  all  of us who  quietly...

Featured5 days ago

Varun Dhawan’s Girlfriend Now Officially A Dhawan Family Member

Suddenly Varun Dhawan marriage after prolonged dillydallying is happening sooner rather than later. Apparently Natasha Dalal has given her nod...

Featured5 days ago

Suhana Khan Not Making Her Debut Anytime Soon

There are growing whispers of Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana’s Bollywood debut soon. It is being said that Suhana is...

Featured5 days ago

Deepika Padukone Paid Rs14 Crores For “83

Ranveer Singh has excitedly spoken out about his fourth pairing with his wife Deepika Padukone for the sports film 83...

Rishi Kapoor's Next Movie Gets Postponed Rishi Kapoor's Next Movie Gets Postponed
Bollywood News6 days ago

No Plans Yet For Return Home, Says Rishi Kapoor

Of late  Rishi Kapoor who is  in New York undergoing  a lengthy medical procedure,has been feeling homesick.The ailing actor,now on the way to...

Bollywood News6 days ago

Hrithik’s Sister Is Doing Fine But Needs To Resolve Family Issues

 There were  reports in a  section of  the media  regarding Hrithik’s sister Sunaina’s failing health. Now  they’ve  debunked  by  the...

Bollywood News1 week ago

I Am Mother Turns Maternal Movies On Its Head

I Am Mother(Netflix) Starring  Clara Rugaard, Hillary Swank Directed by  Grant Sputore Rating: **(2 stars)  There are  only two human characters  in...

Tiger Shroff with daddy Jackie Shroff and sister at the premiere of his film Baaghi 2. Tiger Shroff with daddy Jackie Shroff and sister at the premiere of his film Baaghi 2.
Bollywood News1 week ago

I Loved My Father In Bharat , Says Tiger Shroff

 Tiger Shroff is a big fan of his father Jackie Shroff. He has watched  all his Dad’s film , some of them repeatedly....

Bollywood News1 week ago

Shabana Too Shocked To React To Girish Karnad’s Death(But Here’s Her Reaction)

Some of  Girish Karnad’s best works  was with Shabana Azmi. And vice versa. In fact they almost  started  together  in Shyam Benegal’s Nishant  in 1973 , one of...

Bollywood News1 week ago

Bollywood Pays Its Tributes To Girish Karnad

Amol Palekar:  “My personal loss is beyond words!It’s an irreparable loss at many levels,cultural, intellectual, and moreover political! Very few artists...

Bollywood News1 week ago

Zarina Wahab: The Law Linking Live-In With Rape Must Change

Zarina Wahab has stood with her husband Aditya Pancholi through all  the  stress and strain that they as a couple  have gone through over his...

Entertainment1 week ago

Here’s How Vidya Balan Lost Jayalalitha To Kangana

The Jayalalitha bio-pic which is now  being top lined  by  Kangana Ranaut was  first offered  to Vidya Balan. She  was  apparently...

Entertainment1 week ago

Dabangg 3 Will Miss Vinod Khanna, Rumours Of Dimple’s Return Untrue

Dimple Kapadia’s  return  to play Salman Khan’s mother in Dabangg 3 is the stupidest  rumour  we’ve  heard   in recent times.It seems  the...

Entertainment1 week ago

Ranveer Singh, YashRaj and Bollywood Jump On To The Gujarat Bandwagon

 Just days  after  PM Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party returned  to  power, Yash Raj films announced Jayeshbhai Jordaar with Ranveer Singh in the title role  of a Gujarati.  Gujarat and Gujaratis will  figure ...

Akshay Kumar Akshay Kumar
Entertainment1 week ago

Akshay & Bollywood Growing Up?

So Akshay  Kumar plays a  transgender  in his  forthcoming  film. He has  come  a lomg way from the  time he ...

Entertainment1 week ago

Hostages Is Driven Down By Its Absurdities

Hostages(Hotstar) Starring Ronit Roy,Tisca Arora, Parvin Dabas, Dalip Tahi; Directed  by Sudhir Mishra Rating: **(2 stars) Sitting through the 10  artificially    frenetic  episodes of this  thriller  is  a slog....

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Chernobyl Is A Reminder Of The Apocalypse Ahead

Chernobyl(HBO 5-part miniseries) Starring  Stellan Skarsgard, Emily Watson, Paul Ritter Directed by  Johan Renck Rating; *** ½(3 and a half stars) It’s easy to...

A Monsoon Date A Monsoon Date
Entertainment2 weeks ago

A Monsoon Date Is A Moving Homage To The Transgender Community

A Monsoon Date (Eros Now) Short Film Directed by Tanuja Chandra Rating: *** (3 stars)     There is  a date, and then...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Deepika and Salman Khan Still Not Together

Salman  Khan and  Sanjay Leela Bhansali are all set  to  come  together   again  after  the ill-fated Saawariya  in  2007 . In Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam and  Saawariya  Salman’ didn’t get...

Salman Khan Walks Out Of Dhoom 4 Salman Khan Walks Out Of Dhoom 4
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Stop hounding Salman!

So now Salman Khan is being pulled  up for slapping an overzealous  security guard.However   we may hate  him for his...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Karan Oberoi Gets Bail

After  over a month in  custody for  alleged rape,television actor and musician  Karan  Oberoi, who many  believe to be innocent specially...

Kaabil  Kaabil 
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil Flops In China

Things are  not  looking up for Hrithik Roshan. Even as  the trailer of his release  Super 30  has been  greeted  by tons of ...

Bharat Bharat
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Bharat Opens To A Massive Response

While  all of Hindustan waits for  the verdict on Bharat, early responses  are   very encouraging.While critical  reaction to  the  film is...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

What’s Love Got To With It?

Love can  wait…Work comes first….Today’s  actresses don’t allow their hearts to rule their heads. Did you ever hear  of  Kareena...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

CBFC Gets Liberal With Gay Subjects

Legendary gay singer-musician Elton John is  pissed  off  with the Russians. Their country has just cut  off  some portions  of ...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Here’s Why This Superstar Is Quiet About #MeToo

By Devyani Chaubal   He  is  the undisputed Sultan  of  the  boxoffice, The most beloved superstar with a clean  image on  screen...

Bharat Bharat
Featured2 weeks ago

Bharat Is A Flawed But Monumental Achievement

Bharat Starring  Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover, Disha Patani, Jackie shroff Directed  by Ali Abbas Zafar Rating: ****(4 stars)...

Ayushmann Khurana Ayushmann Khurana
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Ayushmann In A Plagiarism Row

The team  of  the new Ayushmann Khurrana project Bala finds  itself  in  a  soup.An assistant   director Kamal Kant Chandra has filed a  case  against the film’s leading...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Always Be My Maybe Is Simply Irresistible

Always  Be My Maybe(NETFLIX) Starring Ali Wong,  Randall Park , Keanu Reeves Directed by Nahnatchka Khan Rating: *** ½(3 and a half stars) When ...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

Sudeep-Salman’s Face-Off In Dabangg 3

Prabhudheva  who  directs Salman Khan in  the   third  film of the Dabangg  series, has  planned a huge hand-to-hand combat between  Salman and...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

After Shah Rukh, It’s Varun Dhawan For Aanand Rai

Zero  failed to work the wonders at the  boxoffice it was meant to. But director  Aanand L Rai is  not stopping  from doing what...

Adivi Sesh Adivi Sesh
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Adivi Sesh: “My Next Release Is All About Secrecy”

 Not  much is known about  Telugu star-actor Adivi Sesh’s next  release  Evaru which,  Adivi informs me, means ‘Who?’ Adivi Sesh   is  certain that the secrecy surrounding  Evaru will work...

Entertainment2 weeks ago

The Perfection Starts Well But Plunges Into A Mutilated Monstrosity

 The Perfection(Netflix) Starring Allison Williams, Logan Browning Directed  by  Richard Shepard Rating: *( 1 star)  This  is  a horror film...

Ranbir Kapoor Ranbir Kapoor
Entertainment2 weeks ago

Nepotism Hits An All-time Nauseating High Bollywood

 When  I am  asked  my  take on nepotism  in  the  Indian entertainment  industry my  answer is  simple. There  is  the...

Advertisement

Most Popular