Before talking about the movie in detail I wish to talk a little bit about the genre called Biopic. Biopics are fascinating as we get to know about the known or unknown side of well known or lesser-known personalities. Some biopics are made to give you an alternate insight into the life of a well-known person. Some biopics are to celebrate the person he/she is. Basically, biopics are for the future to remember the legend. This genre is not much explored in South Indian cinema, although there are few great movies on the list. Ambedkar, Kamaraj, Bharathi, Periyar can be added to the list but they were made for a purpose of documenting the legacy of the people. I long wished for a biopic that I can watch in the theatres and celebrate. For this the biopic has to be made about a person you love, writing has to be interesting and performance has to be convincing.
Mahanati/ Nadigayar Thilagam answered my dream biopic. This movie talks about the life of Mahanati/ Nadigayar Thilagam Savitri. She ruled the South Indian film industry during her period. There was a time when the producers were waiting for her call sheet to make a movie. She not only made a mark but rather created a legacy for herself in the male-dominated industry. She was called Nadigayar Thilagam for a reason. This biopic is just the celebration of rise and fall of Savitri. And the cast and crew have done it perfectly. In a biopic, if the casting is done perfectly then half the work is completed and I was skeptical about Keerthy Suresh as Savitri but oh Boyy…. She just nailed the role.
Mahanati lies heavily on the shoulders of Keerthy Suresh and she excelled it with flying colours and the writing concentrated much more on her formative years and her rise to stardom. Her fall was not fully explored which is understandable as the movie is aimed at celebrating the legend. Dulquer as Gemini Ganesan may not look convincing in photos but his performance was indeed great and he added the much-needed complexity to the character. Rajendra Prasad as Savitri’s uncle Choudhry gave a sound performance in the first half and subtle performance in the second half. Mohan Babu’s performance as S.V Ranga Rao was nostalgic. If you have seen a few movies of Savitri and have a little bit of knowledge about her then definitely it is a treat to watch. If you have no clue about her then you might get some idea about her from the movie.
Now, you may wonder if this is a perfect movie? Definitely, it is not. First of all, it is a Telugu movie so it covered a major portion of her Telugu career, so fans like me who wanted to see her interactions with Sivaji Ganesan, whom she considered brother and lot more was missing. JP Chandra Babu who had a major role in her life has no role in the movie and Gemini is not the only reason for her decline. I felt a bit sad on making Gemini as the villain. The director took some creative freedom which can very well be accepted and definitely you can enjoy the movie without any hindrances. Music by Mickey J Meyer is perfect and apt to the moods of the movie. Samantha and Vijay Devarkonda along with all supporting cast did a tremendous job. If I need to give a special appreciation then it has to be for the sets, costume and production design whose efforts are very well seen in each and every frame of the movie. Kudos to Nag Ashwin for choosing this subject, working on it extensively and giving a good movie to remember and celebrate Savitri.
Watch this movie as a celebration of one of the greatest actors ever in South Indian cinema, watch it for Nostalgia, watch it for Keerthy Suresh’s performance, Watch it to relive some of the greatest moments in Tamil and Telugu cinema and above all watch it for Savitri Amma. Watch it with your parents and grand parents.