‘Stars agreed to work even with limited screen time’: 'Mahanati' director Nag Ashwin

A day ahead of the film’s release, some of the cast and crew members did a Facebook Live, and also took questions from the audience.
‘Stars agreed to work even with limited screen time’: 'Mahanati' director Nag Ashwin
‘Stars agreed to work even with limited screen time’: 'Mahanati' director Nag Ashwin
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A day ahead of the release of Mahanati, the biggest multi-starrer of the year, the film’s team is busy with promotions. The film’s director Nag Ashwin, its lead star Keerthy Suresh, actor Vijay Deverakonda, who also features in the film, and cinematographer Dani Sanchez-Lopez went live on Facebook and spoke about what went into making the film without giving too much away.

A biopic based on the life of legendary south actor Savitri, the Telugu-Tamil bilingual will be released in Tamil under the title Nadigaiyar Thilagam.

The Facebook Live was done from actor Keerthy Suresh’s official Facebook page. The team also took questions from the audience towards the end.

Keerthy Suresh, who’s just a few films old in the industry, admitted that she was initially skeptical about taking up the most challenging role of her career.

“Nagi, Swapna and Priyanka convinced me I can do it. If they were so confident in me doing the role, I thought why not?” she said.

The team also added that the film depicts more about the late star’s off-screen life.

On what pushed Nag Ashwin, who’s just one film old, to take up such a challenging project, he said, “I’ve always wanted to recreate some of the old songs and sequences from yesteryear films and that’s the core idea behind it. The main inspiration came when I was listening to a radio show on Savitri. Listening to the kind of stories from her life, I immediately thought her stories were worth exploring.”

The director also went on to thank all the stars who’ve been a part of the project.

“Even though they had limited screen time in comparison to Keerthy, they’ve worked on the project for the film’s sake. This is a very positive change in the industry.”

The film’s cinematographer Dani was all praise for the kind of technology that went into the making of Savitri’s films.

“I was surprised that we didn’t know these gems. Some scenes are very interesting. It was probably done photochemically at the time. It is a pity that the preservation of these movies isn’t great. It’s very hard to follow since there are no subtitles available. When we had to recreate some of the images, I had to intently study the kind of lights they used and so on,” he said.

Mahanati has a bevy of stars. Malayalam star Dulquer Salmaan will be making his Tollywood debut with this film. The film also stars Samantha Akkineni as journalist Madhuravani, Vijay Devarakonda as Vijay Anthony, Shalini Pandey as Susheela, Prakash Raj as Aluri Chakrapani, Mohan Babu as actor SV Ranga Rao and Naga Chaitanya as Akkineni Nageswara Rao.

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