A young boy who arrives in Shirdi is often found meditating, but his activities are seen by a local head Bhatia (Sayaji Shinde) as an act of pure madness. The young boy leaves for the Himalayas and years later he returns to Shirdi, the place he loves. The people of Shirdi village name him, Sai.
While Bhatia continues to doubt his miracles; he soon becomes a satguru to the people.
Shiridi Sai is third devotional film in the combination of director K Raghavendra Rao and Nagarjuna after their highly successful movies - Annamayya and Sri Ramadasu. Nagarjuna portrayed the roles of devotee in those movies. And in Shirdi Sai, he gets to play the role of a messenger of God.
K Raghavendra Rao has tried to narrate the movie in his own style with Nagarjuna as the hero and Keeravani`s songs as the main narrative device.
Raghavendra Rao`s Shirdi Sai focuses more on the life of Saibaba than the miracles he performed like the earlier films did.
Nagarjuna as Shiridi Sai is perfect and his performance in the climax sequences saves the film. First half of the film is pretty bad. Added to that a cheap comedy track also spoils the proceedings. And there are too many songs in the film and fewer engrossing scenes. May be one should not look for technical finesse, and narrative skills in a devotional film.
Nagarjuna has a radiant glint in his eyes necessary to play the role of baba. He is the pillar of the movie. After Nagarjuna, the one who stands out in the movie is the actress (Rujutha Deshmukh ) who plays Laxmi Bhai.
Vinaya Prasad as Baayija Bai, Kamalinee as Radhamayee, Srikanth and Sai Kumar are okay. Srihari, Shayaji Shinde, Brahmanandam, Ananth and Ali irritate the audiences with their bad body language and over the top performance. The comedy track on Shinde, Ananth, Dharmavarapu and Ali is bad.
Among the technical crew, music director Keeravani is the best. His music pales in comparison with the old Shri Shirdi Saibaba Mayatyam but couple of songs like `Okkade` and `Vastunna Baba` is testimony of his great talent. Senior cameraman S Gopal Reddy`s work is another asset to the movie. Graphics and visual effects and artwork are okay.
Dialogues by Parachuri Brothers lack the depth. Veteran director Raghavendra Rao has completely relied on songs to narrate the movie, instead of creating engrossing moments.
In a nutshell, Shirdi Sai works for devotees. The film has many shortcomings and lacks the moments that evoke `bhakti` in you, yet the climax sequences and Nagarjuna as Saibaba are the highlights.