It is very pertinent that whatever emotion the character is going through, the audience should also go through with the same intensity. Only then the emotion strikes a chord, gets registered and audience too get involved and invested. This applies especially for a love story.
Mahanati had love story of savitri and Gemini Ganesan (GG) as the basis but somehow what ever savitri had for GG was not very palpable to me. They were going together and talking but not really seemed to be desperately in love. Why not make savitri long for him or wait for him or when asked to say dialogues for her first scenes get entangled with the dialogues thinking about GG and there by struggling to hold her senses in tact.
For a simple girl to fall in love with already married GG, the intensity should be much more than normal and should have a strong resonance and shared interests/views or something that GG did for her beyond the ordinary. He did take the photographs that brought her into movies but still some more subtext needed here. And the scene when GG convinces savitri should have been fire and waves in the background to make it look like the fire of intense love fighting with the calmness of common sense/society/convention which water resembles. Each dialogue causing fire and water waves compete for affection and going back and forth. One of the scenes should look like water extinguished fire, well almost but not totally. A sliver of fire still remains and it starts to kick again and the conversation which seemed to end will start off again. As that is what love is, it does not bind to any definition and has no control. And finally fire triumphs over water as passion of this kind always does.
Also, what better way than a movie scene where they are in same movie and acting out roles and GG guiding her how to emote and show love. But Savitri is not able to show that emotion convincingly. GG asking her to look into his eyes and feel that love. Savitri locks her eyes hesitatingly and then is totally besotted and tells the dialogues and impresses everyone. That was the first time, friend became a lover, that transition from friend to lover should stand out with a scene and music, so we all realize something changed. This should be a free-flowing scene and should not look contrived or staged. And from here a mere touch or look take a different meaning for both. Even GG says, he never loved anyone like savitri so some real emotion from his side too should be captured when he’s away from savitri since we always see GG scenes with Savitri around but never alone, pining for her.
The best way to capture longing/avoiding/separation is through a background song which is actually saying – I am NOT missing you at all – but on the contrary the action that is unfolding in front of us is just the opposite. And scenes show that better with no dialogues but just longing and sad eyes, unsteady gazing for long hours with mind totally occupied with the other person who you want to avoid at all cost. You want to move on and get on but not as easy as said. And at the end of the song, the main protagonist – savitri here just keeps running and finds GG and again tries to go back , and as GG sees her he starts to talk to her and then she turns back and the embrace happens with no more words to say. Love has found its latest victim and from here, no turning back. Ready to wed as a second wife and knowingly accepting the repercussions whatever they maybe.