Telugu Cinema’s Foremost Actors Adivi Sesh Talks About The Process Of Playing A Soldier So Heroic.

One  Of Telugu  cinema’s foremost  actors Adivi Sesh has constantly been  striving  to break the  glass ceiling.   His association , and not just as an actor,  with game-changing Telugu films like Kshanam and Goodachri and  yes,Baahubali(Adivi starred in that  too) has given this new-age  actor a fillip into  pan-India  fame. Adivi now plays  Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan  the  NSG  commando who rescued many hostages during the  26/11 terror attack on  the Tajhotel and perished in his valorous  mission. Adivi  talks about the process of playing  a soldier so heroic.

Congratulations, Adivi, How did this dream role  come  your way?

Yes, dream role  is right. You’ll find this hard to believe. But I lived with the  dream  of playing Major Sandeep  Unnikrishnan  for eleven years.Even when  I  was living  in San Francisco I  was  completely taken up by his  grit . I felt he was  my brother. Mujhe  lagtahai who mere bhai hain.That’s how close I feel to him.

So playing him on screen is  just a logical culmination  of  your dream?

You could say that.  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  lived with  for so  many years?

Do you feel  a special affiliation to  Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan because he  is  a South Indian like you?

Well, I can’t deny that the fact that we  both belong to the same region , and that  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 considerations.How Gujarati  was  Ben Kingsley who played Mahatma Gandhi?

How  much research is being done  for  the  the film and your character? Do you intend to meet the Major’s family?

I have  been  interacting  with  Major Sndeep  Unnikrishnan’s  parents  for quite  a while now. And I  won’t be wrong in saying that I am  very close to Uncle and Aunty.  I wouldn’t like to dwell on my  closeness  to them  , as this would seem like  a ploy  to attract attention to our film.

But surely you did  reach out to them  because  of  this film?

Yes  , of course. There’s no  denying  my selfish  motive for  getting to know them. Having known them closely for some time  now I can confidently say our relationship has  gone beyond the  film. Uncle and Aunty have enriched my life . I would’ve been poorer had I now known them.

So many bio-pics  many  of them about army heroes are being made.  Does  playing a  real-life character mean an added responsibility  for the actor?

Of course!  It does  for me. I  can’t speak for others. This is  the first time I’m playing a real-life character ,and that too one someone who  is  taught as a  subject  in numerous textbooks in Karnataka, Andhra and Telangana.  It is  a responsibility and  one  that I am taking  very seriously. I  am  writing the  film myself.

Why  aren’t you  directing it?

It would be possible  for me to play the Major , write the  film, and also  direct it. I trust the  director Shashikiran Tikka completely . He directed me in Goodachari. I   like working with a  closely-knit team. The  process of creativity becomes  so much easier when  you are working with the  people you trust.

Of late  films on the theme  of  national heroes and patriotism  have almost become a formula. Isn’t that  a dangerous development?

Cinema  is a  reflection  of  society  at  large. I am  a proud Indian and  happy to see  a surge  of  patriotism  in  our country Movies  on  true national heroes is  most welcome for  the actor as much as  the audience. The  important  thing is to  stay on the  right side  of the  line dividing  patriotism from jingoism.

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