Adivi Sesh on the ‘Major’ change in his life

Adivi Sesh has great plans for facilitating youngters to join the Army. Photo: Communique PR

Adivi Sesh is thrilled with the response to Major, his latest outing as an actor and writer and also a biopic on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who laid down his life in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.

Enthusiastically, he lets reveal that the film is “A monster in the Telugu version and has added 50 theatres across India in the Hindi version alone. It is growing and will keep chugging along just like the famous ad describes Bajaj scooters!”

Asked to give details about the ‘major’ promise he made recently at a press meet, the actor says, “Yes, once the promotions are over, I am going to start a fund in Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s name. Three friends are researching everything needed and what we have to do. I am going to not only guide and train people in how to join the armed and paramilitary forces but also help them buy the needed textbooks. I am using a lot of my own money for this. We will be in touch with local defense institutes and will hold seminars to coax young boys and girls to enlist in the forces.”

He adds, “It is a big mission, it is very ambitious and is not time-bound. I have to keep on doing this.”

I ask him a genuine doubt. As per some sources, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan actually broke NSG protocol while going up the hotel (Mumbai’s Taj Mahal) for what turned out to be his last journey. Those sources claim that while what he achieved was undoubtedly brave (and so he deserved the posthumous Ashok Chakra), it was something that he should not have ideally done as a disciplined soldier.

Says the actor, “There are various accounts of what happened when he told his associates, ‘Don’t come up, I will handle it!’ Naturally, there is no eyewitness as all that the forces heard through those four or five hours were screams and gunshots! So it’s not so simple, but having said that, I stuck to the most prevalent account of what happened.”

The divorce part, he reveals, was also not fiction, but was a shade toned down and dramatized too at the request of the Major’s parents. “Can you believe that the Major’s father called me up and asked, ‘Are you happy with the film?’ when it was a question I should be asking him!”

As for the box-office response, Adivi informs me that the film was financially safe a year ago. Whatever is earned now will be additional profits. “But the intention here was not to make money, but to satisfy my heart.”

How possibly can filmmaking not be about money but about merely satisfying the heart, I ask. “From 2016, every film of mine has seen financial profit, but in this case the goal of the film was not just that,” he replies. “I hope that you will keep the box-office figures out of this story! Quantifying that reduces the effort we put in, somehow!”

Adivi spent his formative years in the US, where he was also introduced to Major Sandeep through reports of his death in the news coverage of the 2008 attacks. How did living there influence his approach to the film and its script?

“I think it influenced me a lot,” he replies. “I refrained from bombastic performances and lines and kept everything realistic, matching American sensibilities. No one knew anything about the Major except for his death, but through my research, I probably knew 20 percent. I wanted to know so much more. Since 2016 or 2017, I have been his major fan after I discovered that he was much more than just about his valor in his last 36 hours. His life itself had been fascinating!”

As a film, Major has many parallels with 2021’s OTT hit, Shershaah, which was on the life of Captain Vikram Batra. Does he agree? “There are two common points apart from that!” he reveals. “One is that both Major and Shershaah were to be originally released on the same day, July 2, 2021! I withheld my movie for the big-screen because I wanted Major Sandeep’s story to be first watched as it deserved to be—first in theatres, and then by those who missed it, on OTT.”

And he goes on, “The other common point was Vishnu Varadhan, the director of Shershaah. He happens to be my director in the first hit of my career, Panjaa, in 2011, in which I played the main villain Munna!”






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here