A conversation with Nandamuri Balakrishna is always an interesting one. You can immediately sense the supreme sense of confidence that he has, as he speaks with an inimitable swagger. An actor who rarely gives interviews, was at his casual and entertaining best ahead of the release of his landmark 100th film, Gautamiputra Satakarni.
“There’s not much people know about this character, except for a few lines in the history books. The history of it all and the story fascinated me and I knew this was a film I wanted to do,” the actor shared.
Balakrishna, who’s fondly called Balayya, admits that a historical on a lesser-known story was a daunting task.
“We had to do a lot of research. Hats off to Krish for his effort. He did a lot of research on the topic, from whatever books available and paid attention to every small detail. In fact, my entire costume and make-up, including the slippers I wore, had some reference to the historical character. The whole journey was mesmerising,” he beamed.
The film’s director Krish, who won the national award for his previous film Kanche, was singled out for praise by Balayya. Comparing Krish to Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, he said, “The best part about him was that though it was entirely his vision, he wanted to involve everybody in the film. He was not like a dictator on the sets. We discussed every single shot after it was complete.”
Much has been discussed about the Sankranthi battle between two stalwarts Balakrishna and Chiranjeevi as both their films Gautamiputra Satakarni and Khaidi No.150 lock horns at the box-office.
Playing it down, Balayya said, “This is not the first time two big films are releasing at the same time. We are not perturbed by it. We wish them the very best and I feel it’s healthy for the industry (the competition).”
The actor was accompanied by Shriya Saran, the film’s female lead, who said it was one of the most challenging roles she played.
“We were shooting in different conditions and at one stage both Hema Malini and I were unwell. We were also wearing costumes which are not easy to wear. But it’s a journey that all of us will cherish. At the end of it, I was depressed that it was over - because I enjoyed the character immensely,” Shriya added.