Star Cast: Nandamuri Balakrishna, Shreya Saran, Hema Malini, Shiva Rajkumar and Kabir Bedi
Music: Chirantan Bhatt
Cinematography: Gnana Sekhar VS
Produced By: Bibo Srinivas, Saibabu Jagarlamudi, Y Rajeev Reddy and Suhasini Panguluri
Banner: First Frame Entertainments
This is a historical film based on the life of the second century Satavahana King Gautamiputra Satakarni who ruled the Deccan with present day Amaravathi as his capital. Considered the greatest of the Satavahana Kings, his life’s biggest ambition is to bring all of India under one roof and make it all one single kingdom. With this intention he starts his expansion with an attack on the King of Kalyandurg, wins the battle and makes him his vassal.
This is the first of 29 such battles that he wages, each battle adding another kingdom and another vassal to his expanding empire. He then sets his eyes on the kingdom of Saurasthra ruled by Sahapala. In the huge battle that ensues Satakarni wins over the kingdom and makes another powerful king his vassal.
A Greek warrior Demetrius sets his yes on usurping all of India by defeating Satakarni. How Satakarni defeats him in battle and how his name and that of India spread the world over is the main part of the story.
The director did not focus on all the different aspects of the king’s life. His prime focus was on how he contributed to the might of India by bringing several kings under one empire. Then the focus is on how he defeats the foreigner Demtrius’ ambition of conquering India. There are scenes involving the king and his mother and also others with his wife. But they do not form the central theme of the film. There are several points in the theme that need to be appreciated. The king taking his son to battle and how that young prince fearlessly faces the Greek Demetrius, the romance between king and queen, the rajasuya yagam and of course the final message about the greatness of India.
Performances of the Stars:
Nandamuri Balakrishna is known for his fiery dialogues. The man suited the role of Satakarni like no other. The role he played in this film is the best in his career and will truly be the most cherished of all his films – a real milestone worth talking about for the actor. He plays the fiery king Satakarni to the hilt getting into the skin of the character effortlessly. To play such a fiery king takes a lot of energy and dynamism which Balayya displayed in plenty. The manner in which he utters his dialogues, his performances in the war scenes are beyond compare. His energy that he puts into his performance in the film is an abject lesson to stars much younger than he. He proved beyond doubt that among the present crop of heroes he is the one and only one capable of portraying such a character. He carries the entire film on his shoulders with the strength of his performance.
The heroine Shreya and the hero’s mother Hema Malini portray completely contasting characters. The mother exhorts the son to focus on his ambition of uniting India egging him on to war, while the wife counsels him to focus earning name and fame through peaceful means. For Shreya Saran it must be said that this is perhaps her career’s best film – showing her glamorous self as much as her acting abilities in equal measure. All other actors portrayed their respective characters to the best of their abilities.
Performance of the Technical Team:
This is one aspect of a historical film that can make or break a film and one in which Indian film makers are yet to make a mark at the international level in a film of this grandeur and genre. However, Krish and his technical team have now placed India on a par with world cinema even on this front. The cinematography is beyond excellent. The war scenes are always the most difficult to picturise in a historical film. Krish and team have done complete justice to the war scenes.
The art work is one of the highlights of the film in bringing to the fore the glory of the Satavahana period and adding to the authenticity of the film. While the music for the songs is excellent, the re-recording and background score is even more so – in the romantic scenes, war scenes et al. The dialogues for the king are par excellence. They suit the character and the scene perfectly. The fights during the war scenes are the heart of the film. In each battle the director and fight composer have together carried the film to unheard of heights. The naval battle scene is a never-before scene in the history of Indian cinema.
About the Director:
Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi a.k.a Krish has established himself as one of the all time greats in Indian film history with this film. The finesse with which he handled every single aspect of the film brings to the fore the genius of the man – a rarity in one so young. His movie is the very best of Tollywood films of this genre – indeed of Indian films of this genre. This film is certain to make all of India and the world sit up and look at Tollywood.
-Balayya’s acting, energy and dynamism
-The director himself and his direction.
-The war scenes
-Editing et al
Minus Points:The story looks at only one aspect of the king’s life
The final word: This puts Tollywood on the map of world cinema.
“Gautamiputra Satakarni” rated: 3.5 / 5