Two journalists, Madhuravani (Samantha) and Anthony (Vijay Deverakonda), visit ‘mahanati’ Savitri’s house when she is in a coma and that is when they discover there is more to this star than what they knew. The two slowly start to delve into her beginnings and how she became the big star that she was. This simple girl from a village grew up in the 1940s and 1950s acting in theatre when her uncle takes her to Madras to try their luck in films. Savitri is rejected but photos clicked by Gemini Ganesan (Dulquer) find their way into a magazine and she gets her big break. As has career rises, so does her closeness to Gemini Ganesan and the two finally end up getting married.
Slowly, their relationship degenerates despite Savitri’s rising stardom and the end as we know is her sad death. The jealousy and rage that Gemini Ganesan feels while his career dwindles and hers rises, her financial ruin and her turning to alcohol to numb the pain is very tragic.
It’s not everyday that you are treated to a film which celebrates a legend. Director Nag Ashwin has chosen to bring on celluloid the life of yesteryear star Savitri and he has done a remarkable job of it to say the least. In a very subtle manner, he conveys all the complexities of Savitri’s life and how she manages to deal with them. Savitri’s characterisation is very well etched out by him and actress Keerthy Suresh has lived and breathed the role on screen. But one must keep in mind that being a film, the director has given us a story that is told from his perspective and not necessarily the exact version.
The cast is extensive and all the actors have supported Keerthy and given her the space to shine in this film. Told through Vani and Anthony, ‘Mahanati’ is the celebration of Savitri, a talented legend and a beautiful person who will never be forgotten.