At Major song launch, Adivi Sesh promises an ‘Indian’ film

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Actor-writer Adivi Sesh and Saiee Manjrekar at the song launch for Major. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar 

The forthcoming film Major, though shot simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi, has a dubbed Malayalam version as well. This is because the partly dramatized biopic of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life in the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks, belonged to Kerala.

The film’s trailer was launched successfully some days ago, and an event was held on May 17 at the PVR Juhu multiplex, Mumbai, to celebrate its success and also launch the song, Oh Isha. Apart from the acclaimed trailer and song launch, a live performance by its singer Armaan Malik, who has recorded both the Hindi and Telugu versions, was a highlight. Armaan sang a bit of both the versions.

Present at the event were leading man–cum-scriptwriter Adivi Sesh, leading lady Saee Manjrekar, director Sashi Kiran Tikka, producers Anurag Reddy and Sharath Chandra, composer Sricharan Pakala (who also joined Armaan in the song) and other team members. Sony Entertainment Networks presents the film, set to release June 3rd.

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Adivi said that among the ‘three fishes’ releasing on that day—the Tamil Vikram and the Hindi Prithviraj—their film was ‘the goldfish’! He also kept reiterating that Major was an Indian, not Telugu, film as he considered the Indian film industry as one, and this has become truer of late. As against the norm in Hindi cinema, he stated that already, some 1700 people had already watched his film and their reactions had excited him. Even from a few overseas countries, the trailer and the film had given the audiences “goosebumps”, he said.

Asked what prompted him to pen the story of Major Sandeep, Adivi replied that he was in the US when he heard the news and he felt that an older brother had passed away. He became curious about every aspect of the 31 year-old major’s life and started working on the story, deciding to play the role due to the physical resemblance between the Major and him.

However, it was an upward journey convincing the soldier’s parents to open up about their son. “This was because many filmmakers and actors from Mumbai and Kerala, Sandeep’s home state, had approached them and his father did not like their attitude, as if they were doing the family a favor!”  he revealed.

The real major’s father (played in the film by Prakash Raj), stated that his son’s life was a complete story and not just about the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai that had earned him martyrdom. His motto as a soldier had always been “Jaan doonga, desh nahin (You can take away my life, not my nation)!”

The entire film was an experience of varied emotions, revealed the actor-writer. “I was even allowed to attend the 2018 10-year memorial event of the tragedy at the Taj, Mumbai’s hotel, in which it all happened for the major. I went along with his parents, at the event held in the presence of Ratan Tata, who owns the hotel chain. And today, I have two more parents—uncle and aunty (Major Sandeep’s parents).”

Adivi, speaking on behalf of Saiee, who plays the Major’s wife, answered a question by this reporter on whether she had interacted with the solider’s wife for her role. He said, “As a mark of respect, and as per uncle’s and aunty’s wishes, we did not disturb her family and the lady, so Saiee had no interaction with her.”

This reporter also wanted to know from the director about how it was to deal with a writer who was also the ‘hero’. Did it lead to any conflict or tussles? As Adivi joked, “He wants to know about our fights!” the unassuming director said that whatever disagreements and discussions happened did so before they came on sets.

Adivi has been a successful Telugu star who made his debut way back in 2002 in a cameo and shot to prominence after a huge gap with the 2010 Karma as writer, director and actor. He was born in Hyderabad and brought up in Berkeley, California. Unlike most heroes from the South, he is fluent in Hindi and speaks without an accent, something he attributes to his own efforts while in the US. He is best known as pan-India as the cruel son of Bhallaladeva in Bahubali—The Beginning (2015).

Saiee Manjrekar is the daughter of veteran actor-writer-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar, and made her debut in Dabangg 3 in 2019.  She has since acted in the Telugu film, Ghani, which released earlier this year.

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