Sashi Kiran Tikka
Adivi Sesh, Prakash Raj, Sobhita Dhulipala, Saiee Manjrekar, Revathi, Murali Sharma, Anish Kuruvilla
What’s The Story
‘Major’ portrays the life of the 26/11 Mumbai Taj attack's martyr, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, from his childhood to becoming a commanding officer of Operation Black Tornado in 2008. The film also depicts the risks taken by Sandeep Unnikrishnan and several other Indian NSG soldiers to save the lives of numerous hostages in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on the night of the 26 November 2008 during the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Adivi Sesh carries the film’s weight entirely on his shoulders. He is there in pretty much every frame of the movie. He has managed to get the emotions of a soldier quite nicely onscreen. Whether it’s the time when he is leaving his parents to join military school or when he is leaving his wife stranded in the middle of an important discussion to head out for an important mission – Adivi Sesh has managed to get the mood and the feelings perfectly.
Prakash Raj as the doting father is perfect. From getting the look of a father to perfection to the little nuances of being upset with his son to even standing up for his son in front of the others, Prakash Raj has brought forward a measured performance where he has let the emotions and the body language do the talking rather than him doing any over the top theatrics. The portrayal, even though less in screen time, is very believable and relatable.
Vamsi Patchipulusu’s cinematography is applause-worthy. The way he has shown the Taj attacks happening along with the scenes of the NSG fighting with the terrorists is very good.
Sricharan Pakala’s background score works fantastically to bring out the emotions of the characters. Even though none of the songs besides the ‘Oh Isha’ track stands out.
Director Sashi Kiran Tikka did what Neeraj Pandey did with ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’. They both made the audience believe with the trailers and the promotions that the film was about a specific incident whereas what you end up getting is a very emotional and rather personal story. It worked wonders for Pandey and works here as well for Tikka. The way Tikka has juxtaposed the emotional bits in between the heavy action sequences is very neatly sewn together.
Besides Prakash Raj, the rest of the supporting cast don’t have much to offer. Sobhita Dhulipala, Saiee Manjrekar, Revathi, and Murali Sharma – all have really small characters, and none of them stands out differently.
The makers have put a disclaimer at the start of the movie where they profess that a lot of cinematic liberties have been taken in the making of ‘Major’. However, with the Mumbai Taj attacks being such a highly talked about topic, most of the intricate details about the entire episode were in the public domain. So, when the makers slightly changed a little detail, audiences notice it and feel ‘It didn’t happen this way’. For example, the way the NSG came on-ground was quite different from what had been televised at that point in time. Without giving away any more spoilers, there are many such small things which have been shown slightly differently, and if you’re a connoisseur of detailing, they all stand out like a sore thumb.
The major shortcoming of the film is the writing by Adivi Sesh. The audiences are walking in wanting to see a thriller based around the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, but what they’re going in for is a very emotional, personal life story of Sandeep Unnikrishnan. Had the personal life stuff been reduced and more of the battle inside Taj shown onscreen, then the film would have been a more compelling watch. The editing by Vinay Kumar Sirigineedi and Kodati Pavan Kalyan is also to be blamed here for this. Also, the dialogues by Abburi Ravi and Akshat Ajay Sharma are a bit too over the top at some junctures, which end up making Sandeep Unnikrishnan look more cocky than brave.
Audiences in theatres are seen walking out crying or with their eyes red after an emotional journey. Even if the writing has stretched some portions in the name of cinematic liberties, the overall film has come out pretty well. It is definitely a Must Watch. Going with 3 stars.