Major is perfect blend of fact and drama

Adivi Sesh as Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan in Major. Photo: Universal Communications.

To blend fact with a bit of cinematically-necessary drama and fiction is, at best, a challenging job. To do that with a contemporary story (as in just 13 years old in the final act) is even more of an upward task. And writer-actor Adivi Sesh manages it extremely well—and how!

He finds the right soul-mate in director Sashi Kiran Tikka and the latter in turn finds the perfect editors in Vinay Kumar Sirigineedi and Kodati Pavan Kalyan to etch out a simply-narrated story of a man who became a martyr at the age of 31. The film does not go over the top at all, and yet makes a solid impression with some five or six emotional high-points that are best watched rather than described here.

Major tells the story of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who was from a Malayali family settled in Bangalore. A multi-faceted young boy growing up with a determined love for his country and will to serve in the armed forces, Sandeep (played by Adivi himself) ended up as Team Commander (as well as trainer) of the 51 Special Action Group (51 SAG) of the NSG (National Security Guards). This elite force was deployed in Mumbai’s Hotel Taj Mahal to rescue the hostages during the 26/11 attacks on the city.


The film sashays seamlessly between Sandeep’s military ambitions from childhood that intensify as he grows up, his respect and love for his parents (Prakash Raj and Revathi) and his college sweetheart Isha (Saiee Manjrekar). It shows his inflexibility in choosing to be a soldier, fighting the toughest obstacles to be an ace in his field, insisting on being a part of the contingent sent to Mumbai on November 26, and finally, going alone to tackle the terrorists and rescue a woman (Sobhita Dhulipala) and a small kid who she is protecting within the hotel.

The lighter romantic movements, the banter with his beloved and friends, the later drama when Isha feels neglected and wants to go in for a divorce—all these form an integral part of the Major’s persona, researched from talks with his parents and associates. I will not go into details that, again, need to be watched and experienced on screen.

We have watched so much footage on the real 26/11 as well as its cinematic interpretations on film and web that we could be indifferent or bored with essentially the same kind of ‘action’ here. But full credit to the entire team (writer, director, cinematographer, editor, action supervisors and the VFX team besides the actors) that everything is still compelling due to the emotional voltage and sheer soul imparted into the script and visuals.

The shocker sequences still pack a wallop as we realize afresh the horrors of those times, quickly and cerebrally interspersed with glimpses of the man himself, and his bond with his family, wife, superiors and colleagues.

Adivi Sesh is brilliant both on-screen and behind (as the writer). He brings in the essence of what the real Major, as described by Sandeep’s real-life father, was. Saiee Manjrekar looks fetching but largely has about one and a half expressions and must work on them to have a good career. By contrast, Sobhita Dhulipala in a cameo as the valiant Pramoda impresses.

The show, apart from Adivi, is stolen by Prakash Raj, who after eons, impresses in a Hindi film. He is wonderful in every shade expressed by his character as Sandeep’s proud father. His eyes talk a lot as well. Without a really author-backed character, Revathi still excels as Sandeep’s mother. The rest of the actors do well. A special mention must be made of Dr. Murli Sharma as Sandeep’s chief.

This is a film made from the heart, and that being the case, has to score high. In short, this is to 2022 what Shershaah was to 2021—a perfectly captured life of a braveheart who lived and died for his nation, garnished with apt fiction for drama.

Rating: ****

Sony Pictures International Productions, G. Mahesh Babu Entertainment & A+S Movies present Major Produced by: Mahesh Babu, Namrata Shirodkar, Anurag Reddy     & Sharath Chandra  Directed by: Sashi Kiran Tikka Written by: Adivi Sesh & Akshat Ajay Sharma Music: Sricharan Pakala  Starring: Adivi Sesh, Saiee Manjrekar, Prakash Raj, Revathi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Dr. Murli Sharma, Azzy Bagria, Anish Kuruvilla & others






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