Gautamiputra Satakarni is Balakrishna’s 100th film and it’s one of the most talked about films in recent times. In an interaction with the media, Balakrishna opened up about his experience of shooting for this epic historical drama and how he felt that his father, the iconic actor and politician NTR, was the guiding force behind it.
“I feel there was a divine force driving us while making Gautamiputra Satakarni. Perhaps, it was my own father, the late NTR garu, who kept guiding me at every corner throughout the shoot,” Balakrishna said, while addressing the media in Hyderabad. His 100th film has been the talk of the town for several weeks now and with less than 48 hours before the film hits the screens, it feels like Balakrishna’s moment of truth as he comes an inch closer to a big milestone in his career.
There was intense speculation about what film is Balakrishna going to choose as his 100th film. Although several directors had approached the actor, he was looking for something that would be worthy enough of being his 100th film. Finally, when Krish met him in March, 2016, Balakrishna knew he had found the content he had been looking for. “I must applaud Krish for coming up with this subject. It had all the emotion that I was looking for and I feel it’s going to be one of the best films in my career. And I’ve no doubts that it will rewrite the records of all my previous films,” he confessed with pride.
The character that Balakrishna was going to play was so intense that he had to imbibe traits of the Satakarni’s persona and admittedly, Balakrishna kept referring to his father’s films. “Whenever he used to play Duryodhana’s role, his body language would change. We used to get scared to approach him. When he played Krishna, we would spend plenty of time with him and then when he stepped into the shoes of Karna, he was a man full of wisdom. That was also the time when he used to give us valuable advise. I’ve seen him transform into whatever character he was doing and I imbibed some of those lessons which I learnt from him during the making of Gautamiputra Satakarni,” Balakrishna recalled, adding, “There was a point of time when I was totally in sync with what Krish expected from me and my co-star Kabir Bedi had to outperform himself to match up to the emotional quotient in the film. He took a break for a day and rehearsed a lot. The next day, he was there and he was a totally different actor. Krish and writer Sai Madhav Burra have written a phenomenal script and you’ve to watch the film to feel the emotion.”
Balakrishna also, reportedly, referred to few old films from his father’s filmography to get a sense of the costumes, body language among other things. But more than anything else, it was the depth in Gautamiputra Satakarni’s characterisation that gave him the firepower to sink his teeth into the subject. “Can you believe that this king, who hailed from Kotilingala in Karimnagar, ruling the whole of India? It takes an enormous amount of grit and focus to be able to achieve all that. It’s a pity that we don’t know much about him and I hope that our film will throw light on one of the unsung heroes of our history. He gave us an identity and was instrumental in reinforcing the idea of Telugu culture and our rich heritage,” Balakrishna said.
Another interesting aspect of the film, Balakrishna says, is its multi-dimensional approach to capturing the life of a warrior. While he is on a mission to unite the whole nation, he’s also answerable to his wife Vasishta Devi who resents the idea that he’s going to take away her child to the battlefield. “Shriya has done a fabulous job in the film and I must appreciate her for all the hard work she has put in. All the characters in the film are multi-dimensional and very emotional. Gautamiputra Satakarni is going to be a film that every Telugu person across the world will remember for a long time to come,” he added.