Ever since #Mahanati was announced, there were speculations on who would be cast as the legendary yesteryear Superstar #Savithri, and when Nag Ashwin and team finally announced that #KeerthySuresh will essay the role, it came across as a shocker for many, and internet was filled with trolls and memes, focusing on her hamming in flicks like Thodari, especially thriving on screenshots taken in awkward moments during performances. Mahanati was released on May 9, and right from the premieres, the movie started garnering positive responses and went on to the level of a section claiming it a classic and raving about the performance of Keerthy Suresh. The movie also survived competition from the biggie Naa Peru Surya (which vanished soon though!).
To be accurate, Keerthy Suresh, as quoted by many, had not acted, but lived the role, presenting a generation that mostly doesn't know the legendary actress and her life (there was a one-sided inclination, and inaccuracies as said by many, but that doesn't matter), a glimpse of what she was in the industry. That she also took the effort to dub for the role to perfection, added strength to her performance.
Mahanati had it all, for Keerthy Suresh to explore and rediscover the performer in her, as the movie begins with teenage phase of Savithri, where Keerthy had to be what she had been in her earlier outings, with craziness and energy and transcends into the next phase, a one-take performer, a confident one who can challenge the likes of KV Reddy and SV Ranga Rao, a female Superstar in a predominantly male-dominated industry, which Keerthy presented with elan.
And then comes the phase where she's strongly in love with Gemini, where Keerthy had to express the love, the sense of happiness and safety she finds in her man's company, the emotional breakdown when she realizes his marital status, and the decision to stay strong in her love and enter wedlock, no matter what the world says, the guilt of being the other woman, the feeling of being seen by people as a marriage wrecker - this is a phase in Mahanati where Keerthy comes across as a myriad of emotions, ranging from the love flowing in her eyes to regret, guilt, and portrays them all convincingly.
Next comes a completely contrasting phase of the flick where Savithri is dejected, the loud and angry outburst post the unearthing of her man's darker side, the fall into the deep alcoholic pit and the inability to quit it, the career downfall, the feeling of being betrayed by trusted ones, including Satyam, and the transformation from a star, a commanding personality, to a mellowed, soft-spoken woman who now is shattered, hunted, and matured by time and experiences, acknowledging whatever life gives with a smile on face, and is still an epitome of kindness and generosity even in her fall, mentally and economically, were beautifully portrayed by Keerthy's subtle expressions and her eyes that speak loud.
Keerthy's performance as Savithri, made people stunned, as their belief that she could not perform such an intense role with a wide range of emotions, was totally broken, and Mahanati was a complete exploration and exhibition of her acting potential, with a huge scope that most actresses these days never get throughout their short-lived careers.
Mahanati was the perfect U-turn Keerthy's career demanded, making one wonder if it was the same girl who began with very calm and minimally expressive roles in movies like Idhu Enna Maayam, Nenu Sailaja, and especially at a point of time when she was beginning to get typecast in typical commercial cinema bubbly, cute roles that completely lacked sensibility (Remo, Nenu local, Agnyaathavaasi) , besides the countless trolls she had been subjected to, courtesy her hyper act in Thodari.
That Mahanati came at a very early stage of Keerthy's career has been a blessing as well as a danger, as the industry most often doesn't come up with solid scripts with a decent scope for the heroines. Post-Mahanati, Keerthy was seen in Saamy Square, will be seen next in Sandakozhi 2, Sarkar, and is yet to sign her next. Being a star who doesn't completely cater to the template set by most commercial cinema directors, by avoiding extreme glam, it's definitely gonna be a tough journey ahead for Keerthy Suresh to sustain, balancing between eye-candy roles and performance oriented ones, but yes, she's here to stay, irrespective of when she'll get her next Mahanta.
Happy Birthday Keerthy Suresh, wishing you many more smiles and success ahead, and wish our makers give a watch of Mahanati, to understand that she's not a mere song-dance routine seeking glam doll, but a sheer bundle of talent who can enthrall the audience with intense performances.
Kajal Aggarwal gets the Hot Hero The milky beauty Kajal Aggarwal, whose career faced a brief lull in 2015-16, with her being criticized for her looks as well, made a strong comeback since 2017, starring in biggies and scoring hits like Khaidi No 150, Vivegam, Nene Raju Nene Mantri and this year's Awe.
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