Adivi Sesh: Major is a film far removed from usual cinema
Young writer-actor-director Adivi Sesh, who’s all set to make his Bollywood debut with the upcoming bilingual biopic Major, discusses the making of the film and his career
Adivi Sesh made an unusual debut with Karma. In his second film, Panjaa, he landed a chance to lock horns with a star like Pawan Kalyan. A handful of supporting roles later, he eked out a space for himself with experimental films like Kshanam, Ami Thumi, Goodachari, and Evaru—all solid scripts that demanded subtlety in performance.
Life seems to be on an upswing for you right now, I say, and he responds, "It's all a matter of perspective. Regardless of whether you have everything in life or not, you can remain happy. But there's no doubt that I have made massive progress in my career. I made a conscious choice to spread positivity with the films I do. Even on social media, I rarely cross the line. This positivity has helped my career." Despite scoring back-to-back hits, Sesh isn’t one to get carried away. “Many of us new-generation actors help out each other. We realise that we are in this together. So there's no concern about insecurity or competition,” says the actor.
Sesh expresses gratitude to all the directors who believed in his ability. “Director Vishnuvardhan garu, who directed me in Panjaa, was the first to believe in me as a performer. When I was going through my lowest phase and was not being considered for lead roles, Rajamouli sir made me feel worthy again with the Baahubali franchise. I also share a great vibe with my Goodachari director, Sashi Kiran Tikka, who gave me a different style and screen presence."
And now, Sesh is venturing into the Hindi industry with his upcoming bilingual-biopic, Major, in which he will be playing the character of the 26/11 martyr, Major Sandeep Unni Krishnan. “The story struck a chord within me, and I identified with the character of Sandeep a lot,” he says. “I was in the US when I learned the tragic news of Sandeep’s death during the 26/11 attacks. He looked like my older brother and I was shaken that a handsome and patriotic youngster, who had achieved much for his age, died so early.”
The actor, who has also written the film, delves into the research that went behind the script: “I collected Sandeep's pictures and saved all articles about him. When I felt I was ready to do this film, I approached his parents to learn more about this great man's life. They gave me a complete perspective of who he was. Our film depicts the life of this martyr, with details few people are aware of.”
Sesh is particularly excited that Mahesh Babu and Sony Pictures have placed their bets on him as producers. "They have given us complete freedom and I’m honoured to work with such big names," says Sesh.
The 34-year-old says that the team is in no hurry about shooting for this film. “We have shot 40 per cent of the film, and are aware of the kind of movie we are making. We have a long way to go and are proud of what we have done so far. This story requires detailing and we are being careful and faithful to Sandeep's journey.”
The challenge, Sesh says, is recreating the periods and places Sandeep lived in. “It is not possible to shoot in all the actual locations he has worked in. So we have worked on authentically recreating them. We are waiting for the Covid-19 curve to flatten, so we can resume proceedings,” shares the actor, who will be dubbing for himself in Hindi too.
Sesh believes in physical transformation to suit characters he plays. “I had to lose about eight kilos and learn a lot to get into the character of an Army officer. These are the people who work at the border in zero degrees temperature. When I was shooting in the Indo-China border, I would run away after work and hide under layers of blankets. But that's not the case with the real officers. I have tried to bring that authenticity. All I can say is that this role is a total departure from what people have seen in my earlier films,” he tells us.
Our conversation veers to life in the lockdown, and the actor says that the break has helped him readjust his body clock. “Actors are usually sleep-deprived. I have work-related anxiety and it had an adverse impact on my sleep cycles. This break has helped me adjust my sleep pattern. I feel fortunate, while being aware that a lot of people are in unfortunate situations," says Sesh.
He has also found comfort in books and films. “The lockdown came at a point when I had almost given up on reading, due to my schedule. I have read a novel called The Shadow of Wind, and the biography of Veer Savarkar as well. I have returned to films like Missamma, Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari, and Mani Ratnam films.”
His excitement is palpable when speaking about his next film, Goodachari 2. “It's my next film after Major, and it's being planned on a pan-India scale. The sequel will tell a different story within the Goodachari universe, using characters from the first part,” says Sesh. “I hope to make many more Goodacharis.”