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Rajkummar Rao Delivers a Compelling Performance in Biopic ‘Srikanth’

Vision may be limited for some, but aspiration knows no bounds—a truth fiercely represented in the recently released biopic ‘Srikanth,’ starring Rajkummar Rao as the resourceful and driven Srikanth Bolla. The film, directed by Tushar Hiranandani, earns a commendable 3/5 for its storytelling and portrayal of an extraordinary life.

Rajkummar Rao lends his voice and spirit to the character of a visually impaired Srikanth Bolla, charting his journey from a financially underprivileged background in the small town of Machilipatnam to the prestigious halls of MIT in Boston. This indomitable protagonist did not just break barriers but crafted a new paradigm by setting up an industry for the visually impaired, transforming from a boy shunned for his disability into a beacon of hope and a corporate icon.

The initial scenes serve as a stark reminder of the societal prejudices faced by those with disabilities. An infant Bolla is almost doomed by his parents’ own hands due to his visual impairment—a cruel inclination halted just in time. The film also touches upon the inefficiencies and corruption within institutions meant to protect and educate, as evidenced by Bolla’s expulsion from a blind school for whistleblowing.

Rajkummar Rao captivates with his portrayal of Bolla’s vulnerability, which is beautifully contrasted by the nurturing presence of his teacher, played by Jyotika. It’s her faith that propels him to foreign lands, where his brilliance and determination shine. Yet, the narrative sometimes races through these potentially resonant human connections, instead pivoting quickly from one life event to the next.

The cast delivers persuasive performances, including Alaya F as a long-distance love interest and Sharad Kelkar in the role of a supportive business partner. The narrative even brushes shoulders with the influential former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam. However, the rapid pacing of the film might leave audiences longing for a more profound emotional connection—a testament to the complex tapestry of Bolla’s life, which perhaps cannot be fully explored within the confines of the movie’s run time.

The film is occasionally reminiscent of cherished classics featuring protagonists with visual impairments, such as Naseeruddin Shah in ‘Sparsh’ and Al Pacino in ‘Scent of a Woman.’ While ‘Srikanth’ occasionally falters at achieving that level of indelibility, it has its poignant moments, particularly a significant courtroom scene reflecting the systemic bias against the visually impaired in educational settings.

Additionally, an interesting tidbit emerges as the film discloses that Bolla’s overseas education was generously sponsored by Nagpur’s Haldiram—a detail that will certainly stay with many viewers.

Tushar Hiranandani’s directorial skills have been known to the audiences from his past works. His debut ‘Saand Ki Aankh,’ based on sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar, was a success. However, ‘Srikanth’ marks a high point in Hiranandani’s career with its portrayal of a little-known, yet an eye-opening narrative. The director maneuvers through Bolla’s life story, ensuring that it could resonate just as powerfully on television or streaming platforms.

This biographical film is anchored by Rajkummar Rao’s stellar performance, as he breathes life into a role that highlights the indomitable human spirit. His embodiment of the character ensures that the story of Srikanth Bolla reaches the hearts of the audience, proving that in the world of talent and courage, visual impairment is no barrier.

In closing, the film ‘Srikanth’ stands as a testament to the fact that love and justice might be blind, but talent never is. As the curtains fall, viewers leave with a heightened awareness of Rao’s brilliance, a performance so vivid, it could be felt through the fingertips—like braille itself.