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quick review:

An inspirational story, if there was one! And yet so, human. Well performed too. All good enough to overlook the episodic writing in the first half.

Streaming partner: Netflix

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Director: Tushar Hiranandani
Running time: 140 minutes
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Accessibility, generally is a tough one. But it is a whole another level when it is denied to you at the very beginning. Imagine your community prefers to deny you access to life itself. For your sake. Then you spend your childhood tied down, literally and metaphorically. And bullied, of course. To still have the spark in life, the zeal for it is inspiration enough. Srikanth does more and aspires for the beyond. Salute to the chemistry in the human body that takes away a physical capability but gives you a never-consider-I-can’t mindset.

If at all there is a moment or two when you are distracted by the jerkiness in the first half, Rajkummar Rao’s performance yanks your mind back to your seat.

Like I say for any such truly inspirational real-life story, the job is half done for the writing department. The other half is all about presenting it with creativity so that the viewer doesn’t lose interest even if they know it all. No mean feat, this. Srikanth’s writers made it feel a little episodic in the first half, jumping from one life stage or milestone to the next. In the second half though, they recover. The flow is smoother and the narrative, more engaging.

This could be because Srikanth’s very raw, human side is exposed post-interval—he suddenly turns into a regular ol’ human being from an extraordinary one; someone more like you and me. The film keeps this part simple and that is what makes it engaging too.

If at all there is a moment or two when you are distracted by the jerkiness in the first half, Rajkummar Rao’s performance yanks your mind back to your seat. And what he does well before the interval, he does even better after it. It’s almost as if he’s saying, were you distracted by my character’s disability, let me show you what happens to him when he goes really blind. The rest of the cast do well—Jyotika, Alaya F, and Sharad Kelkar. but their act seems pale given the lead actor’s naturalness and ease of portraying his character’s disability—physical, emotional, and mental. Sure, Rao is pretty uneven with his diction, but that didn’t bother me too bad.

What was the most jarring was Aamir Khan’s presence throughout the film. I saw no reason for ‘papa kehte hain…’ to be blaring through most of the background score. Seemed relentless. On the other hand, you have sequences that break the flow of the film but are well done because they give you a peek through a visually impaired person’s sense of space, like the one in the post-grad university. Another one that will stick to memory is the one in which Srikanth is being rushed to the dark side.

You know you have a winner when you find yourself heaving a sigh of relief when you realise that Srikanth won’t succumb to the frailties of being human though. Even if it means that you will have to be satisfied with a standard biopic climax.

- meeta, a part of the audience

23 reviewers(?) - 14 yays 4 so-so 5 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Nikhita Thakkar, Bollywood Life : ...Srikanth is a good film to watch to seek some inspiration and change the way one looks at the specially abled people. They aren't different!... full review

Thumbs up, by सौभाग्या गुप्ता, DNA : ...अगर आपको बायोपिक देखने का शौक है और राजकुमार राव के फैन हैं तो इसे जरूर देखें. आप एक्टर के फैन नहीं भी हैं तो भी वो अपनी एक्टिंग से आपको इंप्रेस करने में कामयाब होंगे. वहीं इसमें कई सीन आपको इमोशनल कर देंगे. हां, कुछ सीन को देख आपको तरस भी आएगा पर कुछ ही पल में वो प्रेरणा बन जाएंगे. फिल्म में सभी स्टार कास्ट की एक्टिंग इंप्रेस करेगी. फिल्म के कई डायलॉग भी काफी अच्छे हैं जो आपके दिल को छू लेंगे. फिल्म में वैसे तो सबकुछ बहुत शानदार है पर सेकेंड हाफ में फिल्म थोड़ी खिंची हुई लगी.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...In conclusion, Srikanth is a poignant and inspiring tale brought to life by director Tushar Hiranandani's directorial acumen and the writing prowess of Jagdeep Siddhu and Sumit Purohit. With stellar performances from the cast, particularly Rajkummar Rao's powerful portrayal of the titular character, the film is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit against all odds... full review

Thumbs up, by Murtaza Iqbal, Filmi Beat : ...Overall, Srikanth is one of the best biopics we have seen in recent times. Rajkummar and Jyotika's amazing performance surely take the film a notch higher.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...Srikanth is that rare biopic which might not be in the commercial race but has its heart in the right place. It's a biopic that comes once a year, perhaps, a completely experimental one. This is by far Tushar’s best as a filmmaker. Laced with purity, morality, righteousness, Srikanth needs empathy and not sympathy.... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...Srikanth is not preachy; it's just stating facts. It does stress on the fact that while others have sight, the visually challenged have a vision, but it never tries to show them as less privileged. With tons of humour laced carefully to not take away the seriousness of the subject, Srikanth is a heartwarming tale that leaves you feeling inspired and instils a feeling of self-belief. If Sri can, so can you... full review

Thumbs up, by Sana Fardeen, india today : ...While the songs of the film are just about average, the usage of Aamir Khan's 'Papa Kehte Hai' needs a special mention. The track not only instantly hits the nostalgic spots, but also aids the story of Srikanth, every time moving one step closer to his dreams. The film deserves a watch, if not for anyone/anything, then at least for Srikanth Bolla, a man, who, even without sight, truly sees the world in so many different hues.... full review

Thumbs up, by Pooja Darade, koimoi : ...Overall, Tushar Hiranandani’s film about Srikanth’s journey is a beautiful ode to human spirit and determination. It tells us that what we see as weaknesses can be another person’s strengths. Rajkummar Rao’s stellar performance and the compelling narrative about how dreams are beyond what we see through our eyes will leave a smile on your face.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Srikanth, as uplifting a film as any, deserves a wide audience. It is more than a mere story. It is a heartwarming celebration of a way of seeing the world in a new light.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dishya Sharma, : ...Srikanth completely rests on Rajkummar Rao’s shoulder. The actor has put himself outside his comfort zone to ace the nuances of the character. However, due to the screenplay’s lack of depth, the actor looked like he was hamming in a few scenes in the second half. I wished the second half was tackled a lot better because the film could be bigger than it already is. Another issue I had with the film was the length of Alaya F’s role. She seamlessly fits into the film but the film doesn’t explore her role.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepa Gahlot, : ...Jyotika brings warmth and Sharad Kelkar charm to their characters, as they willingly allow themselves to bend to Srikanth’s steely will, Alaya F has a brief and mostly unremarkable role. The film is so earnest, so sunshine-y, the hero so inspiring, that one could overlook the slight sags along the two-hour runtime.... full review

Thumbs up, by Pratiksha mishra, The Quint : ...The background score, too, is way too jarring at first. There is too high a contrast between the subject of the opening scenes and the treatment. It is perhaps the film’s most evident flaw. Even the product placement feels too on the nose to feel authentic. The camerawork is…experimental but doesn’t always pan out the way you would expect it. There are some moments that feel slowed down for no rhyme or reason.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mudit Bhatnagar, Times Now : ...Overall, Srikanth is a thought-provoking and inspiring journey that highlights the importance of inclusion and equal opportunities for people of all abilities.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dhaval, Times of India : ...Roy... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...When Srikanth says knowingly, ‘hamaare chakkar mein mat padna, bech ke kha jayenge’, you are startled, and then you laugh out loud. You know instantly that this is a guy who has learnt that self-pity is self-defeating, that he is grateful to have been supported to be able to reach a point where he can make the best of his innate abilities, that he is a winner. And everyone loves a winner, right?... full review

So-So, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Overall, Srikanth has some highs and some lows, making it a fairly average-to-decent watch. But yes, the potential was much higher.... full review

So-So, by Mayur Sanap, Rediff : ...In the end, it's Rao who does the best with what he is given and he ably elevates the generic story-telling. Too bad that his performance remains the only takeaway from such an inspiring real-life story.... full review

So-So, by Suparna Sharma, The Week : ...The film exhibits confidence only when it is around him. But the film’s director and cinematographer Pratham Mehta are so in awe of Rao's performance that they constantly elevate him, framing him like a hero and not a man. This creates an admiring distance between us and Rao, when what we really needed was some intimacy.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...A drone shot snaking through the halls of Srikanth’s American campus made me imagine a frantic honeybee late for class (or a spelling bee?). At a narrative level, Srikanth tries to be interesting. For instance, it isn’t entirely hagiographical. He is disillusioned by his country at first and, like Anil Kapoor’s character in Nayak: The Real Hero (2001), expresses his reluctance to shoulder the burden of talent; why attempt to revolutionize a system that’s so broken? But he changes in a heartbeat... full review

Thumbs down, : ...The big emotions feel truly earned. We finally feel we are watching something close to the real Srikanth Bolla’s life. I don’t care if a biopic takes liberties, like axing some characters or adding new ones. The point is not exactness, but whether we get the essence of the person. And that, Srikanth manages only sporadically.. Read more at: full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Instead of showing us a visually impaired person’s life with clarity and honesty, the film keeps repeating that they shouldn’t have to be beggars. I’m sure the young minds at my screening absorbed that lesson, since it was offered at least a dozen times. “We only have sight, he has vision," someone says of Srikanth. They could be talking about the film: wide-eyed, no vision.... full review

Thumbs down, by Isha Sharma, NewsBytes : ...Srikanth suffers from the same problem as Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, where another remarkable true story was reduced to shreds due to a juvenile style of filmmaking. It's surprising that despite the gravity of this story, we never really feel connected to Srikanth and he is always at a distance from us. The credits begin rolling, but the gap is tragically never bridged.... full review

Thumbs down, by Kartik Bharadwaj, the new Indian Express : ...I didn’t quite get what Srikanth was trying to get at. Its sermons of ‘empathy not sympathy’ felt hollow since the film couldn’t go beyond Srikanth’s disability. It felt rushed, trying to squeeze in the lifetime of a person in two hours, hoping it would present a vivid image of his personality.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A disable person being bullied, thrown around.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None. Except a passing word or two like ‘sex’ or ‘kissing’.
  • Concept: Inspirational true life story of a visually challenged man who is born in the deep interiors of India too an extremely poor family.
  • General Look and Feel: Functional and just right for the narrative.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (2)

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Meetu, thanks, that you saw it on day-1. I'ven't seen it yet, but reading your review, it seems good. would wait for OTT release.

Good call!

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