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Major Movie Review

by rameshe

Critic’s Rating : 3.5 / 5

Major Movie Review : A heart-touching tribute to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and his family

Story: “What is a soldier?” is a question Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan has had to grapple with since he joined the Indian Army. It’s a question he asks himself even as he fights terrorists in Mumbai on the fateful day of 26/11.

Review: You know how the saying goes, that funerals are for the living and not the dead? If you thought that Sashi Kiran Tikka’s Major was just a tribute to the 26/11 martyr, you’re wrong. This film is a tribute to the sacrifices a lonely wife had to make whenever her husband is off fighting bad guys, sacrifices parents have to make while praying their son is not the one called to war. This film is for those whose sacrifices are seldom acknowledged while they’re most often the ones left mourning.

Sandeep Unnikrishnan (Adivi Sesh) has a protective instinct embedded in his DNA. He feels fear but he doesn’t think twice before putting himself in harm’s way if it means saving someone’s life. It’s no wonder that even as a little boy, he finds himself fascinated with the ‘uniform’ and a soldier’s way of life. But what does being a soldier mean? Does it mean forgoing being a good husband and son, does it mean putting oneself first on the battlefield or going to the extremes of being a sacrificial lamb with no self-preservation? Even as he contends with these questions, a tragedy strikes the nation and Sandeep, who’s an NSG major now, must do his bit.

Going into Major, you already know how the 26/11 terrorism attack in Mumbai will play out; you also know that Sandeep will end up a martyr. So how does one tell a tale where the audience is already familiar with the major beats? While one could nit-pick and think of various other ways, director Sashi Kiran Tikka and Adivi Sesh, who wrote the story and screenplay, decide to focus on Sandeep the human as a whole rather than just Sandeep the martyr. When the inevitable happens, you mourn not just a soldier who sacrificed his life for the country but a life that he could’ve lived. To reveal anything more about this coming-of-age tale would be an injustice.

Aiding Adivi Sesh, Saiee Manjrekar (who plays his childhood sweetheart Isha) and Shobitha Dhulipala (who plays a businesswoman called Pramoda) are a strong technical team. Saiee gets a character with heart, one that is fully fleshed out instead of existing for the sake of it. Shobhitha’s Pramoda too is as detailed as it can be; given the circumstances she’s introduced in. Abburi Ravi’s dialogues and Sricharan Pakala’s music blatantly play on your emotions but they do it well for the most part. In fact, it’s one of their best works. Vamsi Patchipulusu’s cinematography goes from dreamy to suffocating, depending on the scene playing out while Vinay Kumar Sirigineedi and Kodati Pavan Kalyan make some smart editing choices that stand out in key scenes. The action sequences by Naba also stand out.

The film is not without his flaws though. Abburi Ravi’s dialogues and Sricharan’s music do get a little too heavy handed in some scenes, forcing you to feel a certain way even before you feel it organically. Sandeep and Isha’s meet-cute doesn’t have the desired effect even if their story does get stronger as the film progresses. Certain tracks regarding Sandeep’s army-mates seem incomplete. There are a few other things one could nit-pick too but the way the film is crafted with a non-linear screenplay, it doesn’t really let you think much.

Adivi Sesh gets the role of his lifetime and he grabs it with both hands. He does a good job of playing both a smooth faced teenager who might come across as naïve to a man who knows what he wants from life and is willing to fight for it, even if circumstances don’t always allow it. Saiee fits the role as far as her age is concerned but she comes across as raw and inexperienced in the emotional scenes. Shobitha breezes through her role, so do Murli Sharma and Anish Kuruvilla. Prakash Raj and Revathi, who play Sandeep’s parents, give the role their all. Everything from the way they love their son to grieve him comes across as heartbreakingly realistic.

Major might be an action drama for the most part where guns and bombs become the norm after a certain run-time, but the film does a good job of opting for a personal tone instead of a jingoistic one, when the latter might have been easier. This one deserves to be watched on the big screen, you won’t regret it.

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