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Srikanth review: Rajkummar Rao bowls you over with his resilience and wit in this inspiring biopic

Srikanth review: Rajkummar Rao portrays a blind genius in Tushar Hiranandani’s biography of Srikanth Bolla.

Srikanth Bolla is
vision challenged and can ‘practically just dream’. As a result, he chooses to dream large and pursue them to the fullest extent possible. He lives by several mottos, including “I can’t run, so I must fight,” “There is nothing I cannot do,” and “If others can, Sri can.” He isn’t asking for assistance. He requires instruction and mentorship. He does not want others to pity him for his limitations. He wants to receive things based on merit. Director Tushar Hiranandani, together with authors Jagdeep Siddhu and Sumit Purohit, skillfully threads all of these elements together to create a simple yet dramatic tale in the shape of this biographical film, Srikanth. (See also: This week’s theatrical releases: Srikanth, The Boy and the Heron, and more.)

Srikanth, played flawlessly by Rajkummar Rao, says, ‘Main hero nahi ban raha, main hero hoon’. Well, that simply encapsulates his standing in the film. He is the heart and hero of Srikanth, and shines throughout without any low points as far as his performance is concerned. Even when the narrative, screenplay or the pace of the film dwindles, it’s Rao’s terrific performance that keeps the ship afloat. It’s hard to not notice the time and effort that has gone into the prep of this character and that shows in every single frame. A scenario in which Srikanth falls to the ground, bangs his forehead, and unconsolably tears in front of his instructor, stating that he does not want to beg, does not elicit sympathy but rather demonstrates his perseverance and courage.

The plot
Srikanth (Rajkummar Rao) is born to Damodar Bolla (Srivinas Beesetty) and Venkatamma Bolla (Anusha Nuthula) in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, in July 1992. While the father is overjoyed with the birth of his first child, a boy, which is considered auspicious, and names him after his beloved cricketer Krishnamachari Srikkanth, his world crumbles when he realises his baby has been born blind. Damodar cries and feels helpless, and when his neighbours beg him to kill his child, he is going to bury him alive before his wife intervenes.

However, the film only briefly depicts Srikanth’s childhood, during which he was tormented by other children who told him he was worthless and would grow up to be a ‘blind beggar’. Soon, Srikanth is enrolled to a special school for the visually impaired in Hyderabad, where he meets teacher Devika (Jyothika), who not only helps him with his studies but also teaches him how to walk without assistance and be self-sufficient.

Even if watching Rao onscreen is pure joy, I couldn’t figure out what age group he was playing because the filmmakers plainly didn’t pay attention to subtleties about his appearance. Rao appears unconvincing as a student. Nonetheless, the film at this point criticizes the Indian school system, which prohibits those with visual impairments from pursuing science after class 10. Srikanth and Devika fight a court battle with all their strength, and end to getting him admittance to the desired school. But even for further education, universities have the same rule, and there is where we see Srikanth defying all odds, and despite being rejected by all colleges in India, he is invited to the top four institutions in the world on full scholarship, and he attends MIT in Boston, USA. For a village-born child, life in the United States appears to be a little too fancy, and he sees no real problems. Life takes numerous turns, and he returns to India to pursue his aspirations and become a businessman with Bollant Industries. With several strong and well-crafted sequences, we see Srikanth’s ultimate climb and temporary fall.

Srikanth brilliantly conveys our society’s lack of empathy for those with disabilities and their problems. The film highlights the biases that exist in the school system and job chances for them. It’s demonstrated in a scenario where Srikanth is looking for investors for his firm, and one company, hesitant to invest, tries to entice him to help make candles for Diwali, which we’ve long associated with visually challenged individuals.


Srikanth is well-timed at 132 minutes, but the first half is clearly superior. There’s pace, intrigue, and a curiosity factor about what Srikanth will do next to realise his dreams. The second half dives into a bit of character glorification, which it avoided for most part until the interval. The scenes where Srikanth is shown to have gone bitter, jealous, and

Even though Srikanth is no superhero, he can accomplish pretty much anything with a heroic twist, which Hiranandani has portrayed beautifully by filming some amazing scenes. Not only does he flourish academically, but he also excels athletically, earning a berth on the Indian National Cricket Team before deciding to pursue his studies abroad. Another time he astounds you is when he is denied boarding at the airport because, according to airline policy, a visually impaired person must be accompanied by someone when flying. The sequence that follows, and how Sri turns the situation around, not only puts a grin on your face, but also serves as a subtle reality check for the current system, which does not treat people with disabilities equally.

Many situations in the video highlight society’s reluctance to meet the demands of the visually handicapped. What’s wonderful is that it’s done in a way that doesn’t elicit sympathy, but rather encourages them to have equal opportunities. There’s a speech, or rather a monologue, near the close of the film that, certainly, is designed to summarize what Srikanth wants to tell the world on behalf of the visually impaired community, but I felt the film had already done enough in the last two hours to express all of that and more. But, certainly, the filmmakers effectively employed Srikanth’s wit to break the film’s didactic tone with a few laughs.

Aside from Rao’s perfect performance, Jyotika is equally effective and provides a restrained performance. She not only allows Srikanth to follow his own path, but also keeps him grounded when necessary. Jyotika has some of the nicest and most touching interactions with Rao, thanks to a charming screen presence and the perfect balance of emotions. Ravi Mantha, played by Sharad Kelkar, is Srikanth’s buddy, elder brother, and business partner who invests in his dream project. Kelkar continues to be a quiet pillar of strength, understanding Srikanth’s vision and remaining cool even when things get rough. There’s Jameel Khan as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who has some incredibly beautiful scenes with Srikanth, and his portrayal of Kalam really blows you away.

In order to cover a variety of important parts of Srikanth’s life, the film depicts his love life, in which Swathi (Alaya F) develops feelings for him after reading about all of his accomplishments on social media. They quickly bond and fall in love, but you can see Alaya arriving and going whenever it is convenient. Her character should have been more developed, and the whole love tale angle might have been better interwoven into the narrative. Despite her minimal screen time, Alaya F manages to make an impact.


This review would be incomplete without discussing the film’s second hero, alongside Rao. Papa Kehte Hain, with music by Aditya Dev, brings soul to Srikanth’s journey. Each time the tune is played, whether during the opening credits or in the background during key moments in the story, you are charged and immediately drawn back into the picture.

Srikanth is not preaching; he is only speaking facts. It emphasizes the fact that, although others have sight, the visually handicapped have vision, yet it never portrays them as less fortunate. Srikanth is a touching story that leaves you feeling inspired and instills a sense of self-belief, with enough of humour woven in to avoid detracting from the severity of the subject. If Sri can do it, you can too.
















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