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Who Is Industrialist Srikanth Bolla, Who Inspired Rajkummar Rao's 'Srikanth'?

Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

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Actor Rajkummar Rao is all set to bring the inspirational journey of visually challenged entrepreneur Srikanth Bolla on the big screen. The biographical drama is helmed by Tushar Hiranandani and also features Jyotika, Alaya F, and Sharad Kelkar in supporting roles.

Who is Srikanth Bolla, and what was his journey? Here's all you need to know:

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Srikanth's Early Life and Education

Srikanth Bolla was born in 1991 in Andhra Pradhesh's Seetharamapuram village in a farmer's family. In addition to being indigent, Bolla's visual impairment brought more hardships in his life. Bolla's parents were even advised to abandon him due to his impaired vision, believing that he would not be able to take care of them in their old age.

However, Bolla's parents chose to support him, raising him with love and affection, and prioritized his education. After Srikanth received admission in a boarding school for blind children, his family moved to Hyderabad (then city in the state of Andhra Pradesh).

Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

Despite being far from his parents, Bolla settled in quickly and also learned to swim, play chess, and cricket with a ball which made a rattling sound for him to locate it.

Bolla always aspired to be an engineer and wanted to major in science and mathematics in order to pursue his dream. After completing his matriculation, Bolla opted for science in his 12th. However, he was denied permission to do so by the school authorities, citing that the subject was too much of a challenge for senior blind students with its visual elements like diagrams and graphs.

Instead, the school allowed Bolla to study other subjects like arts, languages, literature, and social sciences.

After facing rejection from several schools, Bolla decided to sue the Indian education system. With the help of his teacher and a lawyer, he appealed to the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for a reform in the state's education law, and ultimately won the lawsuit after six months.

After returning to a state board school, where he studied math and science and topped his class with an average grade of 98 percent, Bolla applied at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Despite all the discrimination he faced, Bolla's blindness once again became a hindrance in his admission to the institute.

However, he didn't lose hope and applied to some of the best technical schools in the USA, securing seats in the top four institutes including MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon.

Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

Srikanth Bolla at MIT.

(Photo Courtesy: MIT News)

Bolla chose to study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he became the first international blind student to have received an admission.

In addition to excelling in academics, Bolla is also recognised as a national-level specially-abled cricket and chess player from India.

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Bolla's Career and the Birth of Bollant Industries

After completing his education from MIT, Bolla was greeted with numerous corporate opportunities in the US. However, he was looking for some innovative ideas in India.

Bolla became a youth leader in 2005 and went on to join former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam's Lead India 2020: The Second National Youth Movement. The movement focused on eradicating poverty, illiteracy and unemployment from India, helping it in becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

Srikanth with then President APJ Abdul Kalam. 

(Photo Courtesy: Instagram/@srikanthbollaofficial_)

Soon, Bolla returned to his homeland and co-founded Samanvai Center for Children with Multiple Disabilities in 2011, where he launched a computer research and training center and digital library for visually challenged students. A year later, he decided to establish his own start-up business, Bollant Industries.
Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

Bollant Industries manufactures eco-friendly disposable products which provide livelihood to disabled people and people with no formal education. The company significantly grew over the years, with a workforce of over 600 employees, 60 percent of whom are physically disabled. According to reports, business tycoon Ratan Tata has also invested in Bolla's company.

In 2016, he became director of the Surge Impact Foundation, which dealt with enabling India's individuals and institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Bolla's Achievements

Srikanth starring Rajkummar Rao, Alaya F, and Jyotika is expected to hit the big screens on 10 May.

In his career, Bolla has been honoured with several awards. In 2016, he received the Emerging Leadership Award by ECLIF Malaysia. The following year in April, Bolla was named in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list, being the only Indian in the category that year.

Bolla was also honoured with the National Entrepreneurship Award by the Indian government in 2019. In the same year, the businessman was also presented with the Entrepreneur of the Globe award by One Young World in the UK.

(With inputs from MIT News, BBC, and Forbes)

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Topics:  Rajkummar Rao 

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