Shiridi Sai directed by K Raghavendra Rao is refreshingly devotional and is presented in a much more enchanting structure as compared to the earlier Telugu films Sri Shiridi Saibaba Mahathyam (1986) with Vijaychander as Sai and Ashok Kumar’s Sri Sai Mahima (2009) with Sai Prakash playing Baba.
The life and times of Shiridi Sai are well known and the story depicts various phases of Baba’s life from his earlier times until his samadhi. Sai Baba’s moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God are aptly highlighted in different episodes.
After enchanting performances as Annamayya and Ramadasu, Nagarjuna mystically enthrals the audience as Shiridi Sai. The actor has grown in his thespian capacity and found his own way to get under the skin of the roles he plays. As Shiridi Sai, he is very convincing and credible. He is at his best.
All others have done very well in their author backed roles, thus creating an aura of authenticity to the period presentation. However, mention must be made about Srikanth as Das Ganu, Brahmanandam as Sandeham and Srihari as Wales.
Once again director K Raghavendra Rao proves why he is such a high class filmmaker. This is the third devotional film for him and it is a boon to the vast number of Sai devotees. The dialogues are very apt and appropriate. The episodes are conceived with cinematic imagination. The innocuous comedy actually makes the storyline appealing. The screenplay moves purposefully and energetically into a crescendo culminating in a well-crafted conclusion.
The 15 songs composed by MM Keeravani are gems of devotional music. They add to the richness of the narration. His background music adds value to the visuals. As is his forte, S Gopal Reddy makes the camera work wonders creating visual splendour on the screen. Production values are high.
Shiridi Sai is an eminently well-made devotional movie which is a must-see for every devotee and will be a spiritual experience for others.
The opening with aesthetic paintings is extremely appealing. Nagarjuna’s entry as Baba with the song Okkade Devudu is brilliantly conceived and executed.
Nagarjuna looks so natural as Shiridi Sai, with his apt body language, looks, nuances of facial expression and subtleties of modulation and diction, that you will definitely feel he deserves the National Film Award for Best Actor.
The Cast and Crew
Nagarjuna, Srikanth, Srihari, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Sarath Babu, Sai Kumar, Sayaji Shinde, Ali, Brahmanandam, Ananth and others
Story : Bhakta Suresh Kumar
Dialogue: Paruchuri Brothers
Music: MM Keeravani
Cinematography : S Gopal Reddy
Producers: Mahesh Reddy & Girish Reddy
Banner: Sai Krupa Entertainments
Director: K Raghavendra Rao
3.5 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar