Srihari – A special tribute


Humble, humane and talented – these are the very words that describe the late actor Srihari who passed away in a most tragic way in Mumbai yesterday. The actor was ailing with liver cancer since sometime and passed away at Lilavati Hospital yesterday after undergoing treatment. He was 49. Chitramala takes a look at his filmography and some very special landmarks of his life.

Early days – Srihari was born in Hyderabad. Raised all his life here, he grew up with a passion to become an actor. He started off his career as a stunt fighter in films. In 1986, Srihari was introduced by a friend to Dasari Narayana Rao, a well know film maker. His first film as a hero was Police, where he played an exceptional role of a corrupt free cop. The film turned out to be the first in the small budget section to have great opening week.

Personal life – Srihari met Shanti, also known as ‘Disco Shanti’ while acting in films. They fell in love and had a fairy tale wedding, which has been blissful all through. Shanti took a silent sabbatical from films to focus on her family while Srihari continued his stint as a character actor. They have two sons. Their daughter, Akshara passed away while very little. His charitable foundation has been named after her. Actor Prakash Raj married Shanti’s sister and later separated. They are a close knit family.

Career as a character artiste – Srihari, though could not well stabilise himself as a Hero, became one of the most talented character artists of Tollywood. He played different roles in close to 97 films so far. Among the notable roles is his iconic role as ‘Sher Khan’ in S S Rajamouli’s Magadheera, which fetched him rave appreciation. The role was reprised in his next film with Ram Charan again, in Thoofan. Srihari has been labelled as a ‘Real Star’ in the industry owing to his natural acting and soul touching rendering of dialogues. He is well known to have played remarkable roles as a spoofy don in films like ‘Dhee’, ‘King’, ‘Brindavanam’, ‘Don Seenu’ etc., to name a few. His stint as ‘Shankar Anna’ in the film Dhee with its funny remains a hit with the audience.

Real Star Image – The real star image came with his strong society oriented performances in the films like Hanumanthu, Nuvvosthaanantey Nenoddhantaana, Mahanandi, Bhadrachalam, Okkadey, Orey Thammudu, Sambayya and Telangana. Intense personality with sincere portrayal, Srihari touched the audience with his mind blowing performance.

Milestones and Accolades – After playing many roles in many mid and small budget films, the big shit actually happened with the film, ‘Dhee’. Srihari became one of the top league character actors after that. His role as a loving and possessive brother in Nuvvostaanantey Nenoddantaana, fetched him great accolades. The film also won him Nandi Award and Filmfare in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor.

Charity – Srihari is well known for his immense philanthropic activities that have changed lives. Apart from his Akshara Foundation, Srihari also adopted 4 villages in Medchal district for their improvement and empowerment.

The real star, the natural and the most talented actor of Tollywood is no more. As shocking as it sounds to the entire Telugu community, he will be sorely missed. We hope that his Soul rests in peace. A True Salute!

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