Mahanati Movie Analysis – Love, Ethics and Cinema

Mahanati is the biopic of legendary actress and the superstar of yesteryear, Savitri. The movie has an ensemble cast of Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer Salmaan, Samantha Akkineni and Vijay Devarakonda in prominent roles. Rajendra Prasad, Bhanu Priya, Prakash Raj, Tanikella Bharani, Mohan Babu, Naresh, Naga Chaitanya, Shalini Pandey etc. played other important roles. Ashwini Dutt, Swapna Dutt and Priyanka Dutt produced the film and Nag Ashwin directed it.



Mahanati Story:

A struggling investigative journalist Madhuravani (Samantha Akkineni) is given the job to write an article about the popular actress Savitri (Keerthy Suresh). Although initially reluctant to take up the job, Madhuravani is impressed by the personal life of Savitri and decides to take it as a challenge. Consequently the character of Savitri starts to influence her own nature. The rest of the story is what she found out about Savitri and how does it influence her own life.



Story & Character Analysis:

The story starts with an interesting premise as an investigative journalist tries to write an article about actress Savitri. It shuffles between the story of Madhravani, personal life of Savitri and her professional life. The documentary style narration is gripping at the beginning, but soon loses its charm. Although some scenes featuring Madhuravani are great, many seem to be unnecessary. The roles of many prominent personalities of Telugu cinema are restricted to a handful of scenes. However we couldn’t demand for more as the movie is more about Savitri.

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The love story and marital life of Savitri has been the central theme of the movie. It is not easy to portray the controversial relationship of Savitri and Gemini Ganesan on screen and convince the audience. The movie does a fantastic job of presenting the conflict without villainizing any character. The character development and execution are extremely natural and authoritative.

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The scenes featuring Madhuravani and Anthony, particularly in second half of the movie come as breaks in otherwise engaging story of Savitri. The dialogue modulation of Vijay Deverakonda spoils the 70s environment of the movie. Also the chemistry between Samantha and Vijay Deverakonda appears to be fabricated. Although the third person perspective of story telling is subjective, it takes away the immersive experience of watching a biopic. The thread featuring the life of Savitri couldn’t be any better as her life is vast and it’s practically impossible to portray everything on screen.


Keerthy Suresh –

Keerthy Suresh has given the finest performance in recent times, and she deserves every award this year. The portrayal of greatest Telugu actress itself is a challenge of a lifetime. She has lived the role as a teenager, adult and middle-aged woman, by convincingly changing the body language without overacting. Apart from the performance, she looks very much like Savitri. Overall, it’s the best role any actress could ask for in current generation, and Keerthy Suresh gave her best.

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Samantha and Dulquer Salmaan –

Samantha does another challenging role of a stammering investigative journalist who has to get over her fears. Her character develops over time and she has done a very good job in portraying it. Her acting, particularly during climax is commendable. Dulquer Salmaan looks natural in the role of Gemini Ganesan. A role where the character should never feel guilty of his actions and a bit philosophical. In other words, his character is a free soul devoid o This is probably the most interesting character in the movie as it has multiple shades, and Dulquer performs to perfection.

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Vijay Deverakonda and others –

Vijay Devarakonda appears no different than his previous films. Although his costumes and dialogues give a feel of 70s, he just pops out of role with his acting and dialogue modulation. His mannersims could have been better if they have followed that of Shoban Babu or Krishna, but his character was designed with a lot of current generation attitude which didn’t fit into the environment. Mohan Babu plays the role of SV Ranga Rao which could have been better. Naga Chaitanya delivers good performance in the role of ANR, but his regular body language is prominent in some scenes. Rajendra Prasad impresses with his performance. Tanikella Bharani and Prakash Raj justify their roles as usual. Most other characters are minor or limited and they did justice to their part.

Technical Analysis:

The script work is good and has a lot of research and devotion behind it. Dialogues are an asset to the movie. The background music by Mickey J Meyer elevates the film to next level. Makeup and costumes are good and perfectly sync to the timeline of the film. Art direction is realistic. Editing is good. The cinematography deserves special mention. The lighting and the color palette are outstanding. The scenes shot in low lighting conditions are notable. The production values are great and the Direction is excellent. Nag Ashwin will become one of the greatest Directors of this generation for sure.



Mahanati is one of a few movies of this generation that are made for the love of cinema. The movie features the rise and fall of the legendary actress Savitri beautifully presented through rich visuals and soulful music. Overall, it is going to remain as a classic for decades to come.

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