Great expectations from Balakrishna’s Gautamiputra Satakarni
Both history graduates, they are excited about their upcoming film, not just because it’s an important film, but also because of their interest in the subject.
“We were taught about so many legendary figures of Indian history but Gautamiputra Satakarni wasn’t one of them. I was surprised to learn of his greatness,” shares Shriya as Balakrishna chips in, “We just heard of him, maybe read a few lines and that was it. But knowing him and bringing his whole story to life through this film has been a phenomenal experience. We all became so engrossed in the story that it wasn’t easy to bid adieu.” Shriya adds, “The last day of the shoot really upset me because I didn’t want the experience to end.”
Was working together different this time around? While Balayya is quick to respond in the negative, Shriya explains, “It’s a completely different setting and film, so it was not the same as before. Our interactions and discussions were different too. This film required a lot of effort, from dialogues to the way we dressed. In that sense, we did bond.”
The film traces the life of a king who lived in the Satavahana times and a lot of effort must have been put in to ensure authenticity.
“The whole process was very elaborate. Research went into everything — the kind of clothes they wore, the footwear they donned, the jewellery they used…” explains Balakrishna, revealing that experts were consulted. Shriya jokes about the footwear. “We had to tie them and they took a really long time to wear! They kept coming off and we had to tie them again,” she recalls.
Building the milestone
Actor Balakrishna reflects on the process and his final choice of the story for his 100th film. “It wasn’t easy to make a decision about this milestone film. I scouted several scripts and listened to a lot of narrations, but I had a lot of expectations from this film and wanted it to be remarkable. That’s when Gautamiputra Satakarni unexpectedly came to me and things just fell into place,” he says.
The actor is charged up about the film. “From the time this film began, I have been really happy with the way things are progressing and am proud to be a part of it. I consider it an honour,” he adds.
Recreating an era which isn’t widely known about can be challenging, but both the actors say that with director Krish at the helm, it wasn’t the case. “When you have a person like Krish, who’s got a lot of clarity, guiding you, there’s no reason to worry,” says Shriya as Balakrishna adds, “We were careful in our portrayal and ensured we were taking the truth to the audience.”
“Not at all! Why should I be nervous?” asks Balakrishna, talking about his state of mind before the film’s release. Shriya however admits that she was nervous on the first day of filming. “But the nervousness makes you want to do better! You want to show yourself there’s nothing to worry about and do not want to let down people’s trust in you,” she says.
When asked about the competition at the box-office this Sankranti, the duo say it’s the festive season and they want everyone to reap the benefits of it. “In Hindi they say, sabka bhala ho aur sabse pehle hamara bhala ho!” jokes Shriya. Balakrishna adds on a parting note, “It’s the industry which is going to benefit after all.”