From being a stuntman, then a character artiste and finally the leading man, Srihari rose in the film industry by sheer dint of hard work, says Radhika Rajamani.
It’s indeed hard to believe that Srihari, the actor, a robust man, full of life, is no more. Death has snatched away an actor who has not just carved a niche for himself but left an indelible impact with the roles that he has played in Telugu films.
Endowed with a booming voice, Srihari, the Real Star as he was known, was able to captivate audiences by the sheer power of his voice and performance.
A humble person who rose in the film industry by sheer dint of hard work from being a stuntman, then a character artiste and finally the leading man, Srihari never forgot his roots.
He was magnanimous and kind-hearted and helped many people. An amiable man, he maintained cordial relationships with everyone.
Thousands of people from all walks of life – politicians, the cinema fraternity, and fans --have come to pay their last respects to him today.
Srihari began his career in Telugu cinema in 1993 as a stuntman. He gradually rose to play antagonist roles and then hero roles. In the last few years, his characterisations in some movies such as Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, Magadheera, Dhee, Toofan (where he reprised the legendary role of Sher Khan done by Pran in Zanjeer) have been significant and his performances excellent and memorable.
His full-bodied voice was his plus point. It mesmerised audiences. In fact, the audience would clap when he rendered his dialogues! He was a good gymnast too.
Veteran director Dasari Narayana Rao introduced Srihari to the silver screen in Kunti Putrudu in 1993. After doing various roles in some 40 films, Srihari was the lead actor in Police in 1999. Till then he had acted with all the big Telugu screen heroes, NT Rama Rao, Mohan Babu, Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, Rajasekhar.
As a hero, he will be remembered for his films Bhadrachalam, Ayodhya Ramayya and Sambayya. Even today, people have not forgotten his roles in Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, Dhee, and Magadheera (where he played dual roles). To reprise Sher Khan in Toofan was not an easy thing but Srihari earned praise for his acting even though his role was not as meaty as Pran’s in the original.
Srihari has acted in close to 90 films. From Robin Hood kind of roles, brother, hero to negative characters, Srihari has traversed the entire acting canvas. He brought depth, intensity, ruggedness, and sincerity to the roles he played.
Srihari was the Real Star – of the people. As he rose from them and worked for them as well. He did quite a bit of humanitarian work but never publicised it much. That earned him the goodwill of people who have now thronged to catch a glimpse of his body.
In the memory of the daughter he lost at a young age, Srihari set up the Akshara Foundation through which he helped people. He had adopted four villages and was looking after their welfare besides addressing problems like water. He also educated many orphan children.
Srihari was married to Shanti (the actress ‘Disco’ Shanti) in 1998 and had two sons and the daughter who died in infancy.
No other actor could carry off roles with the same style and deliver dialogues in Telugu, Urdu and Hindi with such ease. His death has certainly created a huge void in the Telugu film industry.
The going was good for Srihari as he had a bright future ahead given his Hindi film R Rajkumar directed by Prabhudeva. But death seems to have had other plans for this talented artiste... May you twinkle in the sky eternally Real Star!