Gautamiputra Satakarni director: Krish Jagarlamudi
Gautamiputra Satakarni cast: Balakrishna, Shriya Saran, Hema Malini, Kabir Bedi
Gautamiputra Satakarni rating: 3
Samayam ledu mitrama…. Hit a..Flop a…? (There isn’t much time my friend…Hit or flop?) That was the last question in my mind when the film ended with the ubiquitous dialogue still ringing in my head. Well, it’s neither and both.
A war is not an easy thing to show. It should have strategies, soldiers, armoury, artillery, contestants, skills, geography and more importantly a proportioned time to showcase the beginning, the conflict and the victory. Gautamiputra Satakarni is cramped up with battles with only a few elements, which too are poorly executed.
Most of the battles are centered around Satakarni (Nandamuri Balakrishna), no argument there, he is the face of the film, but that turns out to be delimitation. Being the pioneer of the faction themes in the Telugu industry with his uber rhetoric and unrealistic stunts, Balakrishna is just reduced to his power punches in this epic battle(s). Every action sequence is a close shot of the actor swinging his sword with a tad clumsiness. The mass actor was in no shape to swing his sword continuously for a minute, let alone fight in four huge battles. Balakrishna throwing punches in mid-air is acceptable in mass and faction filled films, but in epic wars, it doesn’t quite make sense when a king jumps into an enemy fort (on a horseback!) and gets rid of the those preventing a breach (Yes, with a single sword). Or the actor’s vague strategy to attack the enemy from all sides confusing them. They just don’t lend credence to the usual battle formations.
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In a nutshell, no amount of time is invested in setting the scenes. The art of showing a battle lies in presenting it from every angle possible. In a rush to show the Satakarni’s conquests in the country, there are many chinks that are left wide open in the script.
However, the quick long shots of the locations and the grand visual effects presented can be appreciated for realistic portrayal.
The other aspect of narrative that makes sure there are a couple of flag bearers in the battles are the well-penned dialogues. From the battle and regal rhetoric to speaking about human values and feminism, the story is well worked on mixing some powerful lines evoking positive emotions. Though, there is a bit of redundancy, Balakrishna, with his gift of gab, drives the narrative effortlessly. Balakrishna retains his art of intonation and pitch to deliver the ancient regal Telugu (Grandhika Telugu).
Finally, the novelty and the subject from the pages of Telugu history is a great pick that we should lay back and consider as “mark-as-read” for this Sankranthi. And Balayya can cherish it for making it his 100th film.