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Major Movie Review: A filial tribute to a national hero- Cinema express

Major Movie Review: A filial tribute to a national hero

Despite its flaws, Major is an honest attempt, faithfully recreating sections of the original incident and featuring an inspiring performance from Adivi Sesh

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Published: 03rd June 2022

It's impossible to watch Major without reflecting on the ghastly 2008 (26/11) Mumbai attacks. The Sashi Kiran Tikka directorial painstakingly tells the life story of Ashoka Chakra Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who zooms in to rescue the people held hostage for 72 hours by the terrorists at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai. Through this operation, we witness the destruction, horror, resilience, and anger of a brave soldier who succumbs to the worst nightmare one would ever imagine.

The story is told from the perspective of a father, who witnesses his school-going kid's love for the uniform, his dream to serve the country, and becoming one of the distinguished officers of the Indian Army and sacrificing his life for his nation and its people. It is a convincing and soul-stirring story about one of the deadliest operations, which is as much poignant as it is riveting and engrossing from start to finish.

Cast: Adivi Sesh, Prakash Raj, Revathi, Saiee Manjrekar
Director: Sashi Kiran Tikka

Although the essence of the story is certainly a portrayal of the bravery and valor of Sandeep Unnikrishnan who laid down his life rescuing hostages, the film manages to avoid as much as possible worn-out heroic cliches and jingoistic/propagandistic pathos that were often mandatory elements even in the best examples of 26/11 attacks films of the past. Yet, unlike many politically engaged films in recent times, Major resists the temptation to deride the peculiarities of the Army lifestyle and to speculate on the popular Kashmir conflict.

Instead, the film focuses on accurately capturing a full range of authentic human emotions from happiness, sorrow, devotion, and love at the early beginning of the film through angst, fear, and pain as it progresses to despair. It tells the inspiring story of a brave soldier, whose life takes an unfortunate turn when he decides to take on the unstoppable force menacing the lives of innocent people and their country. The story pulls no punches when it comes to the depiction of enormous destructions and horrors of the war-like situation with top-class set designs and visually appealing special effects, but the major asset of the film is, of course, first-rate performances from its star cast -- especially Adivi Sesh, Prakash Raj, Revathi, and Saiee Manjrekar.

It may be an emotionally draining cinematic experience for many of us, but, I reckon, it could be conducive for the younger generation to get a better understanding of the monumental sacrifice a martyr has made for his nation. The film also talks about the sacrifices the parents and a wife has made while their son or husband is out to protect the country.

On the flip side, we get a feeling that Sashi Kiran and Adivi Sesh (story & screenplay writer) have taken a little too much theatrical liberty to heighten the emotional aspect of the narrative. Also, the story's beats are familiar and lack freshness, especially in the first hour.

Despite its flaws, Major is an honest attempt, faithfully recreating sections of the original incident and featuring an inspiring performance from Adivi Sesh as he skillfully gets right under the skin of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

There's a supporting cast featuring the likes of Prakash Raj-Revathi, who were brilliant in their portrayal of  Sandeeps’ parents -- Unnikrishnan & Dhanalakshmi. We also get to see a vibrant Murli Sharma as Shera, the head of the NSG 51 unit, and Sobhita Dhulipala and Anish Kuruvilla in brief cameos that leave a lasting impression.

The dialogues (written by Abburi Ravi) are clap-worthy and they seem to be in perfect line to give all its characters an emotional wallop.

Major tells the fascinating story of a martyr and the film's all-action narrative pegged on a rescue operation and a turbulent relationship packs a huge emotional punch. The film is indeed a perfect way of paying a tribute to a national hero who sacrificed his life for the survival of many.

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