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'Shirdi Sai' Review: For Ardent Devotees

'Shirdi Sai' Review: For Ardent Devotees

Rating: 3.25/5
Sai Krupa Entertainments, Sree Lakshmi Sai Films
Cast: Nagarjuna, Srikanth, Sarath Babu, Sayaji Shinde, Sai Kumar, Srihari, Kamalinee, Dharmavarapu, Brahmanandam and others
Music: Keeravani
Dialogues: Paruchuri Brothers
Cinematographer: S Gopal Reddy
Editor: Katikaneni Shravan
Director: K Raghavendra Rao
Producers: Mahesh Reddy, Girish Reddy
Release date: 06/09/2012
Nagarjuna who has been known for his flamboyant image has now arrived with a devotional image and yet again he has teamed up with the veteran K Raghavendra Rao. Let us see how the film is.
The small town of Shirdi is visited by a young boy and he starts performing some miracles. But this doesn’t go well with the local head Bhatia (Sayaji Shinde) and he causes trouble. Suddenly, the boy disappears and after few years he returns. He is named as Sai Baba (Nagarjuna).
In no time, he gets a long list of followers (Sarath Babu, Vinaya, Srikanth, Sai Kumar, Kamalinee Mukherjee and others). But time and again Bhatia keeps intruding and trying to show his upper hand. That doesn’t really work till the end. And a time comes when Shirdi Sai has to depart from his body.
How his journey begins and how it ends forms the whole story.
Nagarjuna is a perfect fit for the role. He has the ability to develop that grace and serenity in his face onscreen despite his image outside. He has shouldered the film very well. But if anybody sees Nagarjuna instead of Sai Baba in some scenes, that is not Nag’s mistake but that of director’s and dialogue writers’.
Sayaji Shinde was competent in the negative role and he mixes it with a light tinge of humour and the quotient of jealousy and ego in the right manner. But given the dialogues to him are very pale and ineffective.
Sarath Babu was elegant, Srikanth was neat, Vinaya was decent, the girl doing the role of Lakshmi Bai was pretty she can be given more opportunities. Kamalinee Mukherjee was gracious, Sai Kumar was good, Srihari was not that effective, Brahmi was okay, Dharmavarapu was frustrating. Ali and Ananth are also irritating. The others did their bit as required and added value.

  • Nagarjuna
  • Background score
  • Last fifteen minutes


  • Stale dialogues
  • No gripping moments
  • Weak scene composition
  • Disgusting episode with Dharmavarapu, Sayaji, Ali and Anant
  • Songs

We live in a materialistic world with selfish people but when divinity aspect comes into the picture, the frenzy is unlimited and this is something which brings together all of them irrespective of their backgrounds. This is seen only in two places- temples and theatres. So, when a devotional movie is in the offing it is natural that crowds would be high and if there is someone like Nagarjuna in the lead then it is bound to be double. Something like this has happened for this movie as well. The story of Shirdi Sai Baba is known to all (as shown in Vijay Chander’s film) but the idea of watching it onscreen is all about experiencing the divinity and relishing the sacred moments with the holy entity that we connect to.
And for that to happen there should be a lot of depth and voltage. It is true that the film has some heavyweights involved and the mass appeal of Shirdi Sai is also another plus. But despite all the positives, the film didn’t really have that spark or the vibration that really sets the crowds going. Given the fact that it is more of a remake, comparisons are bound to rise with the older version starring Vijayachander. And it must be said that this is no match to that. As such, the film runs smoothly without any hiccups but the problem is there are no deep moments of reflection or a situation which connects you strongly to the subject. The intensity factor which can generate a communion in the theatre is absent.
Director screwed up the devotional factor by placing an irritating comedy track with Sayaji, Ali, Ananth and Dharmavarapu. The dialogue writers also contributed a lot for that mishap.
But having said that, it doesn’t mean the film is not a look. Practically speaking, this will pass off as a commercial success.
The film is made with a chain of miracles but will not hold any story line. If proper home work and research was done, then the film would have touched a higher mark. Whatever the positive result the film yields, it will be merely by the grace and pulling factor of today’s powerful God Shirdi Sai Baba.
Firstly, the count of Shirdi Sai devotees in Andhra Pradesh is phenomenal and they will watch this without fail. Even if all of them watch for one time, the collections will be thumping.
Secondly, it is refreshing to see a branded devotional flick amidst the commercial mass potboilers after a long time so family audience will come for sure.
Thirdly, this is made at a modest budget which is easy to recover and make profits. So, given the hype and publicity, the film would be an ‘enriching’ experience for the makers while hardcore Baba devotees may find it engaging.
Bottomline: Commendable attempt

(Venkat can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)

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