Satakarni ruled most parts of India (primarily Deccan region) in the 2nd century. Story begins with Satakarni, the emperor, winning yet another battle and bringing another province under his rule. He aims to bring various states/rajyas under one rule and unite them as one country. Although his wife Vasishta Devi does not like his war spree, his mother Balasri supports him.
After winning a major battle against western king Nahapana, he prepares to fight against external forces such as Greek King Demetrius. But this fight is not going to be on a small scale. Can Satakarni win this battle?
This is the first time that the story of Satakarni was filmed. Not many people in the current generation are aware of this part of history before the announcement of this film. Before talking about the film, we must appreciate Krish for coming up with this idea about the early history of Amaravati and Telugu people.
As the titles start rolling, a voice conversation between Satakarni who was just a child and his mother is heard. Satakarni asks why people indulge in wars, his mother replies wars happen because of rulers, not because people want them and she goes on to explain that various other rajyas are constantly squabbling among themselves. Then the child Satakarni vows to unite all rajyas and bring them under one rule.
After he becomes king, he is always at war, winning the battles. So, Krish directly begins the story of the movie with a war and introduces Satakarni to the audiences in the midst of a war. The first war is fought on sea. This gives the first glimpse of the grandness of the movie.
After introduction of Satakarni, the story moves along with the drama between Satakarni and his wife and soon another war happens. In this war, Satakarni takes his four five years old son to the battlefield. This war sequence is lengthy. While the canvas is huge, and it was filmed in a terrific way, the episode doesn't impress us as there is no drama. In this lengthy sequence, when Balakrishna talks about Telugu jaati, you think about clapping but the episode is stretched beyond a point.
By interval he accomplishes the mission of uniting all the rajyas. So post-interval there is not much story. And soon the movie proceeds to the final battle Satakarnis war against Demetrius. While this final battle is also lengthy, there is a drama to some extent.
On the whole, we get the feeling that there is not much story to tell, as the hero is constantly at the war front. There are no major twists or turns in the life story of this emperor. Hence, the movie though visually appealing is lacking in drama.
What works in big way apart from visuals are dialogues. They are written beautifully by Sai Madhav and also mouthed by Balakrishna effectively.
As this is about our Telugu peoples rich heritage and history, we should applaud Krish for attempting to tell this story. Krish could have concentrated more on story , dramatic moments and Balakrishnas make up.
All in all, despite many flaws Gautamiputra Satakarni makes a good watch as it is made with rich visuals and the story is about an unsung Telugu emperor.