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Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
3 Star popcorn reviewss


I have always maintained that for a country to prosper, its farmers, army personnel and entrepreneurs must be worshipped as heroes! Because these are the folks who are essentially the wheels of a nation! One of the main things that is lacking in the Indian educational setup is that of inclusivity. Right from the time when we are kids, we are conditioned to look down upon others who may have been unlucky given their disabilities. And this does spill onto the education scene wherein major school do not accept admissions from such children which is so unfortunate. 

I was fortunate to study in a school wherein there was a differentially abled kid who was my friend and classmate back in the day, and even then I could sense that he was pretty sharp otherwise. My friend was just one such case, but imagine dozens of such minds who do not get a chance to prosper by not allowing them in an environment of inclusivity, in our curriculum which is inclined lesser towards practicality and more towards roting things. On the other hand, the job situation across the world is on the decline too. With jobs being cut, I have always believed to strive to be that person who would generate opportunities for people instead of just continuing to support capitalism. And while I am on the brink of something special, I got a chance to watch the new Hindi film Srikanth based on the life of a visually impaired man from Andhra who went on to build a million dollar company! Its trailer was impressive to a point that I really was curious about the film. So then does the film Srikanth manage to impress, let’s find out.

Story & Screenplay

Srikanth is the biopic on the famous industrialist and entrepreneur Srikanth Bolla, a visually disabled man who went on to not only build a million dollar company but also created employment for more such folks. The story is truly inspirational while highlighting the cliched line – ‘Nothing is impossible’. And while the story offer a searing commentary on the state of affairs in the education sector for visually impaired folks in the country, it comes with the limitation of a biopic. I strongly believe that biopics who follow a fixed template of a linear narrative style, automatically tend to limit the genre straight up. The reason being that in trying to pack a lot of events of the person concerned in the course of say 2 hours, the film turns out to be episodic, something that the film Srikanth does suffer from. So its screenplay standing at 130 odd minutes is heartfelt alright but suffers from simpler conflicts and even simpler resolutions along the way. 

The drama opens with the introduction of a character, elated with the news of being a father to a little boy. But his happiness is short lived when he does get to know that his child, Srikanth is visually disabled, even as he dabbles with the idea of killing off his own baby. Such was the life of Srikanth, growing up in a little village in Andhra which didn’t have too many opportunities of growing and sharpening his curious mind. This, while he continued to get bullied by the local kids thereby forcing him to shift base to Hyderabad to complete his schooling. And while the central conflict of the film revolves around the hardships faced by the protagonist through his disability, it does contribute to several heartwarming moments in the first hour even as he receives an unwavering support from his teacher, Devika. 

The proceedings are engaging and dipped in saccharine, so much so that I could feel the sweetness in the drama at regular junctures. The mood of the drama isn’t a sulking and a brooding one, something that you would associated with a character who is visually impaired(primarily due to the programming on our minds). In fact the humour is tongue and cheek, infused cleverly over the various events that unfold in a rather episodic manner. The writing doesn’t really wish to dwell deeper in any particular conflict but instead, just skims through the surface before going onto the next important episode in the life of Srikanth. But it is purposeful for most parts of the first hour, only to briefly drift away with the romantic portions of the film which are thankfully short. 

The issue for me began in the second hour which felt all the more fragmented given that it wished to introduce a fresh concept along the way. The portions involving Srikanth hustling to get funds for his new startup was adequate but the portions depicting his minor fall felt a little out of place, ironically similar to the events in the life of Srikanth. I did feel that the writers were trying a little too hard in driving home the point of a person falling only to rise again in life. And so, the events jump from a little political setup to a love story and an internal conflict with the protagonist’s business partner in the matter of a few scenes. In the process, the impact is heavily diluted even as I began to slowly disconnect with the drama. But the episodic manner of the drama came to the film’s rescue in an odd manner with the events leading to the final act finding its mojo again. The finale has all the emotions in check backed by a phenomenal Rajkummar Rao that shines so well(more on him later). Overall, the screenplay is decently well penned although falling in the entrapment of the ‘biopic’ genre.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are well penned and very purposeful in their approach. As a result, the lines do leave an impact at crucial junctures in the screenplay. The music is good and scores best with the modern day rendition of yesteryear’s classic ‘Papa Kehte Hain’ that is used at multiple junctures in the narrative, and effectively so. The BGM is understated and doesn’t try hard to manipulate the underlying emotions. The cinematography does capture some beautiful frames that adds a bit of a zing to the proceedings. The wide angle shots with the lighting accounts for beautiful scenes that go perfectly well with the intended emotions in the those scenes. The editing is that one asoect which was found wanting. It felt patchy and fragmented that was for everyone to see in this episodic drama. And this is where someone like Aarti Bajaj was brilliant with Chamkila, simply because she didn’t allow the drama to be reduced to fragments. Director Tushar Hiranandani does a good job particularly with the mood of the drama that is laced with a layer of saccharine. The heart of the drama remains sincere even through its fragmented episodes that keep the viewers invested. And some part of that credit should go to the director who does manage the events well(and most events work well individually). Tushar briefly falters in the middle of the second hour but quickly finds his mojo in the events leading to the finale. Overall, the direction is pretty decent.


The performances are pretty good here. Anusha Nuthula as Srikanth’s mother and Vinita Venugopal as Kavita have their moments to shine. Jameel Khan as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam automatically puts a smile on your face everytime he ventures onscreen. His sincerity and warmth was symbolic of the personality of Dr Kalam which was such a plus! Alaya F as Swathi has a sweet presence although the sudden introduction of her character doesn’t allow the audience to invest in her. But she is earnest nevertheless. Sharad Kelkar as Ravi exudes of warmth and delivers a rather heartfelt performance. And his screen presence was amazing too. Jyotika as Devika is wonderfully restrained and delivers a gentle performance, almost nurturing and empowering the protagonist along the way. She was subtly brilliant here in a heartwarming act. But the show undoubtedly belongs to Rajkummar Rao who is brilliant as Srikanth. Playing a visually disabled character can get tricky given the kind of caricaturish representations that they have previously had onscreen. And this is where the brilliant acting prowess of Raj is for everyone to witness and savour. He gets the body language of his character just right, never trying to go overboard while being wonderfully aware of the smaller nuances. Even on the emotional front, Raj is brilliant and he handles the situations that his character finds himself in, wonderfully well. This was an acting masterclass of the highest order in yet another towering performance by Raj who commands your attention, and in the process distracts you from some of the writing flaws.


Backed by magnificent performances, Srikanth is a heartfelt biopic of an inspirational entrepreneur that shines with its intended emotions despite its episodic and fragmented structure thereby making it a decent watch. Yes, the narrative structure ought to have been better with slightly more complex conflicts and resolutions but the film still has its heart in the right place. Available in a theatre near you.

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