Director: Sashi Kiran Tikka
Writer: Adivi Sesh, Abburi Ravi
Cast: Adivi Sesh, Saiee Manjrekar, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prakash Raj, Revathi
Released in theatres.
Reviewing films based on real-life soldiers is tricky. It helps if the film is good but if it is not good, it becomes difficult to scrutinize it. For one, it tells the story of a real-life hero whose sacrifice of life cannot be matched by someone working in any other profession. Sashi Kiran Tikka’s Major is inspired by the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who died for the country fighting terrorists during the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks in 2008.
The event that shook the country is difficult to process even now after close to 15 years. There are quite a few films and a remarkable series made on the event. The series being Nikkhil Advani’s Mumbai Diaries 26/11, it seems impossible to cross the benchmark set by that series. Major written by its lead actor Adivi Sesh is a decent tribute to a soldier. Who is a soldier? It is this thought that the narrative is based on.
Also read: Adivi Sesh: “The medal given to me for Major by the Black Cat Commandos is bigger than an Oscar”
I’m always keen to know the man behind the soldier. There’s so much to get inspired by and stay humble looking at what these young men do in the extremities of the battlefield and life. Vishnu Vardhan’s Shershaah starring Sidharth Malhotra left me in tears. To be honest, the climax of Major moved me too. The instant applause by the audience in the auditorium as soon as the end credits started rolling was a salute to the sacrifice of the soldier.
Now, to separate the film from the life it is inspired by, to be honest, the first half was a little underwhelming. Adivi Sesh is sincere in his attempt but there’s a certain stiffness in his performance. The chemistry between Adivi and Saiee Manjrekar who plays Sandeep’s girlfriend-wife Isha looks artificial but it’s watchable. Saiee’s inexperience as an actor shows. Revathi and Prakash Raj as Sandeep’s parents rely on stock emotions and character sketches. There’s Sobhita Dhulipala in a special appearance as one of the survivors of the attacks. Major saves her and a little British girl’s life among many.
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There are several usual tropes of a war film. The miscellaneous characters are used to connect the storyline, more importantly, to remind the audience of what is at stake for the soldier. Don’t soldiers fight the enemy irrespective of civilians motivating them or moving them emotionally? Their dedication to their duty is above all this. Having said that, if you can overlook these speed-breakers, the film is harmless. The intent is all heart and maybe that’s why it keeps you invested.
Talking about other filmmaking aspects, the action is well-designed and performed. The combat sequences are fairly efficient. The film is designed for the masses, so, most things are simplified. There are no glaring errors or jingoism in the film. I think the film works despite some of its shortcomings because it focuses on Sandeep, the Man behind the Major.