Nag Ashwin: I thought Bollywood will get National Awards but not Keerthy Suresh

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Director Nag Ashwin, with Mahanati, the biopic on legendary yesteryear actress Savitri, made the entire world sit up and take notice of Tollywood once again after SS Rajamouli's Baahubali. Mahanati, produced by Swapna and Priyanka Dutt under Vyjayanthi Movies banner, featured Keerthy Suresh in the lead role as Savitri.

At the 66th National Film Awards, Mahanati won three awards. For the Best Telugu Film, Best Actress and Best Costume Design. In a chat with IndiaToday.in days after their big win at the National Film Awards, director Nag Ashwin, producers Swapna and Priyanka Dutt open up about the recognition and their upcoming projects.

Calling it an honour, director Nag Ashwin said, "It feels great and I feel that it is a final culmination of the tribute to Savitri garu that we started off to do. I'd like to dedicate it to the whole team because it's a team effort. From the research work to the PR and publicity team who took the film to the people, it's a team process."

When asked if he and his team expected three National Awards, he remarked, "To be honest, people who saw the film told us that Keerthy would get the award for her performance. It was on our mind. Keerthy was fighting with all the biggest names in Bollywood for the award. I thought, realistically, Bollywood actresses would be preferred and maybe we won't make it. We were very happy that Keerthy and her performance were recognised and even her costumes. The amount of research that went into also got recognised. It was actually a pleasant surprise because we weren't expecting it."

Nag Ashwin also revealed that he is currently working on his next project. "I've been writing a new project. It's an original story so it's taking a long time to come up with the screenplay. I'm sort of slow in between projects. But, it's coming close to going on floors," he added.

Producer Swapna Dutt of Vyjayanthi Movies stated that the motive behind the biopic was to tell a great story. "We didn't make it for any award or reward. Every film is made with a calculation, but, this film wasn't like that. We don't even know why it was driven that way. It was a superpower that made us do this film. We made this with heart and this is the result. It's a great learning for us," she said.

Mahanati could be regarded as the starting point for several other biopics, which are in the making currently. When asked if they started this trend down South, she said, "We do not consider to be pioneers in anything. We have a long way to go and we still feel that we didn't start any trend in Tollywood. We wanted to tell a great story which happened to be a biopic."

Producer Priyanka Dutt opened up on how Mahanati brought them all closer. She said, "There will be a lot more movies from me, Nagi (Nag Ashwin) and Swapna together. We've become very comfortable working with each other. We know each other's positives and negatives, so there's a lot of great synergy between all of us. Currently, Swapna and I are producing exciting projects which will be announced next month."

Priyanka also said that their upcoming project would be mounted on a huge scale and it would once again see her, Swapna and Nagi teaming up. "Coming to us, Vyjayanthi Movies will be producing a film with Nagi and the pre-production work will begin from September. We are planning a big film on a bigger scale. A couple of days ago, we had announced a call for writers, actors and designers. It's a huge project," she signed off.
 
 

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