Naga Chaitanya will play the role of his grandfather in Mahanati; film to miss March release date

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Mar 13, 2018 11:50:25 IST

Keerthy Suresh-starrer Mahanati, the upcoming bilingual biopic on legendary southern actress Savitri, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting projects of this year. It’s also one of the biggest multi-starrers in recent times as it features an ensemble cast of actors never seen before together on screen in a single frame.

The latest addition to the cast is actor Naga Chaitanya, who has been signed to play his late grandfather Akkineni Nageswara Rao. He had worked together with Savitri in many films and they were known for their off-screen relationship. In an exclusive chat with Firstpost, the film’s director Nag Ashwin opened up on signing Naga Chaitanya for the role while denying reports that actress Anushka Shetty has been signed to play the character of yesteryear actress Bhanumathi.

Naga Chaitanya. Image from Twitter.

“Naga Chaitanya is on board. He plays his grandfather and his role is essentially a cameo, but will be seen at important junctures of the film. It’s a very important role from the story’s point of view,” Ashwin said, brushing aside rumours that Anushka Shetty has been signed to play Bhanumathi’s role in the film.

He also clarified that they’re in talks with actor Jr. NTR who, if brought on board, would be seen playing his grandfather and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR Sr.).

Mahanati, which also stars Samantha Akkineni, Shalini Pandey, Vijay Deverakonda, Prakash Raj and Dulquer Salman in important roles, was scheduled to release on 30 March.

Ashwin said the release is most likely to be postponed due to extensive VFX work. “We were supposed to come this month end. But the VFX process is taking more time than expected and we don’t want to rush and compromise on the output. Therefore, this month looks quite tight.”

Ashwin, in an earlier chat, had told Firstpost that the project will be a magnum opus period film set in the golden era.

"With massive set pieces, the film will be unlike anything we’ve explored in Indian cinema,” he said. On being asked why he chose a biopic on Savitri and not on any other popular actress, he said: “There have been countless actresses over the last 80 years in Telugu cinema but none have earned the title of Mahanati, and even today it has solely been reserved for Savitri”.

While Keerthy Suresh plays the titular role of Savitri, it is through the eyes of Samantha’s character will we see the story of the legendary actress unfold. Dulquer Salmaan, who makes his Telugu debut with this project, will be seen playing actor Gemini Ganesan.

Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 11:50:25 IST