Prabhu Deva, who was the last to shoot with Srihari in Mumbai, can't believe his "brother" has gone so suddenly.
"I can't believe he is gone so suddenly! He is known as the Iron Man in the Telugu film industry. Srihari was one of the fittest healthiest actors I've worked with," said Prabhudheva, who shot with the late actor for "R...Rajkumar" in Mumbai earlier this week.
Srihari, 49, died at the Lilavati Hospital Wednesday.
In the midst of shooting for "R... Rajkumar" in Mumbai, Prabhu Deva abruptly flew to Hyderabad Thursday morning to be with Srihari's family. He was numbed with disbelief over his colleague's death.
Refuting reports that Srihari died of cancer, Prabhu Deva said: "That is not true. Because everyone close to him is too grief-stricken to react, some sections of the media think they can say anything about him.
"Srihari died following cardiac arrest. It was so sudden and unexpected! I was shooting with him two days ago for 'R... Rajkumar' in Mumbai. There was no sign of any illness. Srihari was as fit as a lion. If he can go so suddenly, any of us can go anytime," Prabhu Deva said Thursday.
The actor-filmmaker said he was part of Srihari's family.
"His mother and sister are like my own mother and sister. His family and he treated me like one of them. I am on the way to Hyderabad to meet them. How will I face them? What will I tell them? Life shouldn't be so unfair."
One last portion of Srihari's shooting for "R...Rajkumar" remains incomplete. But Prabhudheva is not bothered.
"When something like this happens, you realise how frail and fickle life is. You realise you need to spend more time with loved ones. Because you never know what will happen tomorrow. Movies will come and go. I've lost a brother," he said.
Showering praise on Shrihari's acting abilities, Prabhudheva said: "He was very versatile. He was accepted in both negative and positive roles. He played Pran sahab's role in the Telugu version of the recent remake of 'Zanjeer'.
"In fact, he had stopped doing negative roles. Because of his love and affection for me, he agreed to play the villain in 'R...Rajkumar'. I keep remembering how healthy and happy he was. We were in Bangkok together for a schedule. He was fine. Now he's gone," he added.