A day no Indian can ever forget. A day India was rattled by the terrorist attacks which shook its commercial capital Mumbai. A fateful day, when Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Chief of Anti-Terrorism Squad Hemant Karkare, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar and many other security personnel laid down their lives to the nation in the battle to protect our fellow citizens.
As we observe the 14th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, a Hindi film about martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan took Indian and international delegates attending the 53rd IFFI to the heartrending agony of the nation and the valour displayed by our brethren on duty, in their urge to save their fellow brethren.
The Indian Panorama film Major by Telugu Director Sashi Kiran Tikka was screened at the International Film Festival of India today, paying a heart-touching tribute to the nation’s brave sons.
Interacting with media and delegates at the IFFI Table Talks organised by PIB, the Director said that the movie intends to tell the story of Sandeep, the great human being behind the soldier he is.
“For the film, we did extensive research. The research primarily was from Major Sandeep’s parents. We met Sandeep’s colleagues in National Security Guard and Seventh Bihar Regiment. We also went to the school where Sandeep learned and sat on his bench.
The more I started exploring Sandeep as a person, the better connect I was able to make with the person.”The acid test for the director and his team was the most difficult screening ever for them – the screening of the film before none other than the Late Major’s parents in Bangalore.
“It was an emotional moment. Sandeep’s parents were the first audience for the film, it is their reactions that really mattered to us. They were really touched by the film.” Adivi Sesh, the screenwriter of the film, also played the role of Sandeep in the movie.
Why was he chosen for the role? Addressing the IFFI Table Talks session, Adivi Sesh revealed that his facial and physical resemblance with Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan is one of the reasons Sandeep’s parents gave permission to take such a movie.
“There is no better way to pay tribute to this great man’s life. The Malayalam-dubbed version has been done as a tribute to Sandeep’s family, rather than for commercial reasons.”Responding to queries, Adivi Sesh elaborated that the film is not on 26/11 incident per se, but on Major Sandeep’s story, bringing out different facets of his life.
“We focused on Major Sandeep’s journey, for the simple reason that we wanted to say the true story of National Security Guards saving lives of fellow citizens, after the NSG commandos reached the hotel. So many films have captured the side of the terrorists trying to rationalize; they discuss what they feel.”
The director expressed his disagreement with films like Hotel Mumbai which ‘portrays NSG as people who came at the end of the attack’.Adivi Sesh further explained that the goal was not to make the viewers feel sad about Major Sandeep, but to live and experience the tapestry of emotions he must have felt during the last moments of his life, when he defended the country against the terrorists. And thus inscribed himself irrevocably in the bosom of the nation.
Major is a film inspired by the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life battling terrorists during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai in 2008. He served in the elite Special Action Group of the National Security Guard (NSG) and saved the lives of several citizens who were being held hostage during the attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
The film plays out the dreaded terror attack and how he heroically saved lives, unfortunately losing his own in the process.
About Director & Producer
Sashi Kiran Tikka is an Indian film director, predominantly of the Telugu film industry. His directorial debut was the thriller Goodachari (2018).Sony Pictures International Productions is the local-language production arm of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group that releases over 30 films annually across 13 global territories around the world.