Telugu actor Adivi Sesh, who’s playing the 26/11 martyr, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, in Mahesh Babu’s upcoming film ‘Major’, says the braveheart was not just a fighter, but also had an ever-ready sense of humour.
“You remember his heroics, his firm expression as he stood strong even as Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel burned,” Adivi Sesh told IANS in an interview. “While researching my character, I realised he was the first to crack a joke even in the most difficult circumstances. He had an extremely captivating smile.”
As a result, the actor said, “we did not have to deliberately bring laughter into the narrative … it flowed in organically”. The film, he pointed out, is not only about the events of 26/11 and the late National Security Guards (NSG) officer’s role in releasing hostages trapped inside the Taj Mahal Palace, but about Major Unnikrishnan’s life and the warmth of his personality.
The actor, who was raised in the US, said he was there when the tragedy of 26/11 unfolded and he saw it on TV. “When I first saw the picture of Major Sandeep, it struck me hard. I felt an instant connection with the photograph, for he resembled some of my cousins. He and I look similar in many ways.”
Continuing with his narrative, the actor said: “It wasn’t just the case of me learning more about a warrior. It was something else. Something about his photo made me keep thinking about him. Going on, I kind of became an admirer to him, which resulted in creating a path to make a movie on his life.”
The film may centre around the two fateful days in the life of Major Unnikrishnan, which the actor said was the most important chapter of the martyr’s life, but it is not only about him.
“Our intention is to present the events from his point of view, but it was important to find an equilibrium and understand that there were so many people who fought that day, many of whom were also killed,” Sesh pointed out.
On being quizzed about the other movies and documentaries being made on the terror attacks, Sesh said some of them were exaggerated.
“I did watch a couple of documentaries and honestly, I think the event was exploited and exaggerated. I believe that when we make a film on the incident, we must not be exploitative,” Sesh affirmed, adding the film’s tight, well-researched script, and Director Shashi Kiran Tikka’s sharp eye for visuals and performances, will enable the crew to deliver the promise.
For his exemplary bravery, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was awarded the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award, Ashok Chakra.
A multilingual film scheduled for release in Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi on February 11, 2022, ‘Major’ also stars Saie Manjrekar, Shobhita Dhulipala, Revathi and Prakash Raj.