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Credit:  'Jalsa' - Amazon Prime Video

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Thriller Film Includes Frisco Teen

Local Teenager With Cerebral Palsy Debuts In 2022 India Movie

Inclusiveness, diversity and belonging provide well-rounded and inspiring outcomes, especially on screen. Despite growing up while combating mobility and speech challenges from cerebral palsy, Frisco teenager Surya Kasibhatla remembers wanting to be an actor. He says his family set about exploring those options. 

Hailing from India, his family discovered through their network of friends and health specialists that a major film producer in Bollywood was seeking a teen with cerebral palsy to play a specific role. After casting calls and auditions, the then 13-year-old from Frisco found himself on a movie set in Mumbai alongside some of India's biggest film stars.

"People like me can be confident, hopeful and motivated because it doesn't matter what you have. Any person can do anything," asserts 14-year-old Surya.

The film, Jalsa, is the story of a hit-and-run incident that sets in motion the efforts of a journalist, a raging mother and a police department all caught in an ethical dilemma -- that the truth is rarely pure and never simple. The movie was released on Amazon Prime Video earlier this year. It's the first film originating from Bollywood to feature a disabled actor.

MORE ABOUT THE PLOT:  Maya Menon (Vidya Balan) IS a thoroughbred journalist who is presented as the face of truth by her digital channel. One night, a little indiscretion spirals into an accident that threatens to derail Maya’s career and life. Her life is her specially-abled son Ayush (Surya Kasibatla) who spends more time with the house-maid Rukhsana (Shefali Shah) and his grandmother Rukmini (Rohini Hattangadi) than with his busy and supposedly single mother. Ayush’s father Anand (Manav Kaul) is just a lively filler, perhaps somebody who could not keep up pace with Maya.

Co-starring actor Shefali Shah stated that Surya's on-camera abilities represented "something you can't be taught; you're just born with it."

Surya says people who have firm belief in confidence can conquer the world. The next goal on his list is to start a technology company that helps others with cerebral palsy. He says his long-term mission is to establish a company that develops an "open-source voice-based operating system."

With his own YouTube channel, Surya is known for being a vegetarian foodie, piano player, music lover, cricket enthusiast and nifty coder. "I have cerebral palsy by birth, but I don't let that hinder my ability to learn new skills," he assures. 

  • Credit:  'Jalsa' - Amazon Prime Video
  • Surya Kasibhatla (middle) with his co-actors Rohini Hattangadi (left) and Vidya Balan (right). Credit:  'Jalsa' - Amazon Prime Video
  •  Surya Kasibhatla and his parents.
  • Credit:  'Jalsa' - Amazon Prime Video
  • Credit:  'Jalsa' - Amazon Prime Video