Adivi Sesh is a rising star in South Indian cinema. The actor’s upcoming film Major is a multilingual one. It is based on the late martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s life. He spoke to Free Press Journal exclusively about his equation with Major Sandeep’s parents, the progress of the film and more. Excerpts:
How was your recent visit to Mumbai?
It was largely very emotional for me as most of the time, I was with uncle and aunty (the late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s parents- K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan). Mumbai’s press was really gracious to me. I also got to spend time with the NSG in Powai. We got to see the training. Uncle and aunty spoke to a bunch of new commandos at the NSG and talked about Major Sandeep’s life lessons. We got to have lunch with the Group Commander. Aunty and I even did some test firing with an MP5, at the firing range. It was nice to be with them.
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Have Major Sandeep’s parents watched the film? His father has been very vocal about not giving it a thumbs up till he sees it.
Uncle and aunty will, of course, watch the film. Our emotional bond dictates that. As far as uncle’s criticism, as we were coming down the stage, uncle told me the reason. He said, ‘I said that so that you work even harder.’ Uncle’s way of showing affection is tough love! I hope to live up to his expectations.
Mr. Unnikrishnan also said he won’t adopt you. What are your thoughts on this?
I think it’s very emotionally confusing to somehow think that you are substituting someone, especially a great soul like Major Sandeep. That wasn’t the intention ever. It was very clear to me from day one that I play him in the film, but I can never be Major Sandeep in real life. I’m trying to represent his spirit as an artist on camera. And uncle and aunty love me for that. I am trying to find the spirit of a martyred soldier’s soul within myself.
In recent times, South films are being launched/promoted in Mumbai. Do you agree launching here helps them get wider recognition globally?
It all depends on the intention of the film. Major is a story with an intended pan India audience. We are talking about a man who was born in Kerala, brought up in Bengaluru, fought in Kashmir, a Training Officer in Haryana and martyred in Mumbai. Major is not a film made with a sense of going, “Chalo yaar Hindi market bhi le lete hai.”
Is it true that every scene in the film has been shot separately in Hindi and Telugu?
I decided that Major should be made for all of India. Every line of every scene is conceived differently for Hindi and Telugu. We shot every scene separately in Hindi and Telugu. Each language, and scene, has its own nativity and nuance.
South cinema halls have 100 per cent occupancy, but in Maharashtra, it’s 50 per cent. What’s your take?
I think people will go if they want to watch the film, irrespective of the occupancy percentage. Obviously, if any state government decides about 50 per cent occupancy, they are doing so in the service of the public. They are being responsible. As you can see in the case of Sooryavanshi, it was irrelevant to the success.
Are you dubbing for both languages?
We are in post-production. The film has been shot in Hindi and Telugu, and I’m dubbing for myself in both languages. We will have to see about dubbing for Malayalam. All work is in full flow.
Is it going to be a theatrical release in early 2022? Aren’t you worried about the Omicron variant of Covid-19?
Yes, we want only a theatrical release. I am not sure about the latest variant, as I just read the statement from the Australian treasurer that the Omicron virus is less dangerous than the Delta virus. There is no doubt it’s a new thing. But as long as we keep up our vaccination drive, I am optimistic.
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