Major Movie Review: Able writing, execution amplify this Adivi Sesh starrer biographical action drama
Major' works because it is inspired by the life of a real hero. It's a masterstroke at one level.
Cast: Adivi Sesh and others
Director: Sashi Kiran Tikka
Run-Time: 148 minutes
Somewhere in the film, a character asks, 'What does it mean to be a soldier?' It is up to Sandeep Unnikrishnan (Adivi Sesh) to discover an answer. Eventually, he realizes that the answer lies in action, not speech. Well, the same can be said about everything noble. 'What does it mean to be a human being?' or 'What does it mean to be a Gandhian?' This is proof that 'Major' doesn't have great dialogue. Yet, we are enticed by its earnest content because the intent is noble and the focus is unflinching in the second half.
'Major', at 149 minutes, is both remarkable and pedestrian in different degrees. In its attempt to glorify the protagonist (this is a biographical action drama, not just another action drama), the film sort of gives a raw deal to the rest of the soldiers. You get a feeling that the conversations between soldiers are more about one character correcting the other rather than a seamless flow of lines coming together to enhance the drama. The conversations orbit around Sandeep the son, Sandeep the boyfriend, or Sandeep the solider.
For an ambitious pan-India flick like this one, the sound design (assuming some of the portions were done in sync sound) and the background music are not outstanding. This is surprising if you consider that Sricharan Pakala's previous outings with Adivi Sesh are impeccable. Vamsi Patchipulusu's cinematography is somewhat flattened out by too many smoke-filled frames during the 26/11 Attack portions. When such frames last long, it becomes a bit tiresome after a point. Even so, Avinash Kolla's production design is praiseworthy. The Hotel Taj set comes across as a meticulous piece of work.
The first half an hour of the film is more or less a repeat of what we have seen in the promos or heard in the interviews. The team should have refrained from using some of the best lines (the dialogue for the Telugu version is by Abburi Ravi) in pre-release interviews. They feel stale while watching the film. The scenes between Sesh and Saiee Manjrekar feel like we are watching them for the second time after watching the promos, pre-release lyrical videos, and the teaser/trailer.
The hostage crisis, much as it offers several highs, needed better writing. Sobhita Dhulipala's concern for a child seems to occupy more mind space than was required. Prakash Raj and Revathi deliver fine performances, with the latter underplaying it for good.
The film has been narrated from the point of view of Sandeep's parents, without whom Sesh wouldn't have been able to tell an intimate, personal story. It's a masterstroke at one level. But drifting away from the perspective for a good chunk of the film might have opened up other possibilities. Probably, Sandeep would have been less sacralized if the gaze was a bit different.
'Major' works because it is inspired by the life of a real hero. If you watch it with that awareness, the flaws won't bother you much.