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'Major' review: A fitting tribute to 26/11 hero Sandeep

4/5
Last Updated : 04 June 2022, 07:15 IST

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Major

Telugu (Theatres)

Director: Sashi Kiran Tikka

Cast: Adivi Sesh, Prakash Raj, Revathi, Sobhita Dhulipala

Rating: 4/5

The makers of 'Major' had stressed that their effort was to bring forth the personal journey of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, India's 26/11 hero. At the end of this stirring biopic on the late Bengaluru-born commando, the sincerity of actor Adivi Sesh and director Sashi Kiran Tikka stand out.

The core of the movie is around the terror attacks in Mumbai which witnessed the valour and martyrdom of Unnikrishnan. The movie also ensures to paint the picture of his formative years. Starting from childhood, we then see his adolescence and later, his time at the armed forces. While the movie is essentially a narration by the father (a terrific Prakash Raj), it doesn't stray from the focal point - a story about the Major and his perspectives.

While his decision to join the armed forces is formed during the childhood, it is during his training period that an important question is triggered in the mind - "what does it mean to be a soldier?" In the midst of all this, there is a colourful love story which turns into a marriage.

Given that the team never intended to make this a war film or a docu-drama or for that matter, even about terrorism alone, the production design is adequate. Perhaps, some may point out the lack of detailing in terms of the layout of the Taj Hotel (the place of attack). But since it is established that the blueprint wasn't available, we have to be content with what's available for the soldiers - just a handwritten floor plan.

It is a relief that there is no chest-thumping or fist pumping type of patriotism or anti-terrorism on display. Songs are limited, and don't break the story flow. The background score, while definitely effective in elevating the necessary scenes, could have been curtailed slightly to lend a sense of realism in a few instances.

The camera work is apt in taking us right into the setting with a lot of hand-held as well as tracking shots. The editors (there are two of them) do a pretty good job of pacing the movie well enough to make sure the film isn’t one-note as far as emotion is considered.

The action choreography is where certain cinematic touches can be seen and to be fair, they aren't too cheesy. Neither do they linger on the hero too much. Also, Unnikrishnan was all alone during his last moments so there isn't a real reference point for the action. The hand-to-hand combats are a standout.

Revathi and Prakash Raj as the parents are effortless. Saiee Manjrekar is cute during the teenaged love phase but seems a tad burdened during the emotional scenes. Sobhita Dhulipala in a limited appearance suffices her role. Murali Sharma as the Major’s superior is also effective. Adivi Sesh rises head & shoulders above everyone else. His transformation from a school-going teenager to a grown-up training officer in the elite 51 Special Action Group of the National Security Guards is the film's highlight.

Overall, notwithstanding the extent of cinematic liberties, the makers have stayed true to their claim about this not being about the happenings of 26/11 alone. This emotional take on a national hero is sure to impact you.

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Published 03 June 2022, 18:15 IST

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