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Adivi Sesh Pays A Tribute To 26/11 Martyr

Telugu superstar  Adivi Sesh who plays   26/11 martyr  Sandeep Unnikrishnan in the  film Major  has flown  down to Mumbai from Hyderabad to get together with  Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s parents, K Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan To pay a tribute  at the Taj where the  2008  terror attack had occurred.

Speaking to me  from the  Hyderabad airport  Sesh  said, “We decided to pay  a tribute to the person, who is the reason for this entire dream project Major to exist. I will  have a  conversation with Uncle and Aunty, that’s how  I  address  his parents, on the scars  and wounds of  26/11 that  will never heal. It is the producers’ idea that we  gather together at the Taj in Mumbai as  remembrance  of stings  past. I was visiting Aunty and Uncle in Bangalore to take their blessings, when they came up with this idea.”

Adivi went  into a strict military-like regimen to play the part. “I  had  to look extremely fit and slim. I lost  ten  kgs in   three months  before we started shooting for Major.A strict  diet  plan was  worked out,and I  followed it faithfully.”

Adivi sees  playing  the  Ashoka Chakra winner as a huge responsibility. “It  is my first  real-life character.And  to be  playing a  man so  heroic courageous  and   iconic is to me, the greatest privilege an actor can get. I gave this  role all the love and respect it deserves.”

Major  is a  major departure  for  Adivi  from all the characters he has played so far.  “After my last release   Evaru  I wanted  to do something in a different genre. I’ve done the suspense genre twice  in  Kshanam and  Evaru in the last three years. I grew up wanting to  play a  soldier. Now I’ve finally done it.”

 Speaking on how his dream  role materialized Sesh says, “You may find this hard to believe, but I had been dreaming of playing Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan for 11 years. Even through my stay in San Francisco, I was completely taken up by his grit. I felt like he was my brother.So playing him on screen is  just a logical culmination  of  my dream.When Mahesh Babu, who is a co-producer on this project, and his wife, Namrata Shirodkar, approached me with this offer it felt unreal. How could I be offered a chance to play a character that I have only dreamt of playing for so many years?!”

 Does  being a  South Indian make   it easier for Sesh  to play Unnikrishnan? “Well, I can’t deny that it does heighten the sense of kinship. But I’d be just as happy and comfortable playing a war hero from Punjab. I think playing a hero of this stature goes beyond cultural boundaries. After all, even Ben Kingsley did not have to be Gujarati to play Mahatma Gandhi.”

A  world of research has  gone into  playing the  part.  “I have been interacting with Unnikrishnan’s parents for quite some time now. I am very close to Uncle and Aunty, but I prefer to avoid dwelling on my relationship with them as it might seem like an attempt to attract attention to our film. However, now that I have known them for quite some time, our relationship has surpassed the filmy motives. Uncle and Aunty have enriched my life. I would’ve been poorer had I not known them.”

Major is  produced  by  Mahesh  Babu. And Adivi can’t stop feeling privileged. “I’ve always been a big fan  of  Mahesh Babu and to now  have him produce  a film  where  I play this distinguished soldier  is like  a dream  come true. The  best thing about being an  actor is that  you get  to play  out all your fantasies.”

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