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‘Major’ is the story of a brave soldier. Based on the life of Sandeep Unnikrishnan, played by Adivi Sesh. The biographical drama portrays the war hero who was killed during the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.

The film starts off showcasing a young Unnikrishnan, growing up in Bengaluru with his father (Prakash Raj) and his mother (Revathy). As a student, he is fascinated with soldiers and despite the reservations of his parents, he ends up joining the army after being rejected by the Navy. During his time at the National Defence Academy, Unnikrishnan is shown as a compassionate and caring soldier as well as being fearless and an expert marksman. The only “downside” to this perfect soldier was that he placed country above everything and everyone else, including his parents, his wife and his unborn child. On the day of the attack on Mumbai, Unnikrishnan, who was meant to be on leave for personal reasons, comes back and insists on leading his team of National Security Guard commandos to fight the terrorists at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

There is, of course, different ways to approach a biopic of a soldier who was killed on a mission. One would be a clinical approach that defines the soldier’s mettle, culminating in a nail-biting finish that is complete with minute details of the risky operation. The other would be through an emotional lens, attempting to capture the man behind the hero. Director Sashi Kiran Tikka chooses the latter method. The attempt is far from perfect, but the crux of the storyline is moving enough to leave viewers thinking of soldiers who stake everything for the nation.

The cinematography and action in the film are its strength, with many scenes and sequences leaving you in awe. Unfortunately, the positives in the film end there. Much of the remaining part of the film is melodramatic, reminiscent of early 90s Bollywood movies, where logic seemed to be thrown out of the window. Apart from the no-fault performances from Raj and Revathy as the grieving parents, neither Sesh as the main lead nor Saiee Manjrekar as the heroine put in a shift worth shouting about.

Dialogues are also overly theatrical – all aimed at giving the lead actor the chance to utter some very staged one-liners. And finally, the background score feels unnecessary in most parts. it’s loud and used in places just for the sake of it. Silence can be a more powerful tool and you wouldn’t be blamed for wishing they had used it more in this film.

A potential powerful story bringing to the life one of India’s unsung heroes is unfortunately let down by a botched job of a film.

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