systemhalted by Palak Mathur

Movie Review - Major (in Hindi)

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After hearing numerous rave reviews and procrastinating the unfolding trauma of 2008, today I finally decided to watch “Major” on Netflix. The film narrates the heroic tale of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the martyr of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He valiantly sacrificed his life to protect the country at the Taj Hotel, displaying extraordinary courage and dedication at the tender age of 31.

However, I must admit that while “Major” had its emotional moments, it failed to do justice to the real-life hero it aimed to portray. The movie seemed to disregard reality and transformed the life and martyrdom of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan into a typical Bollywood masala film. The depiction of events at NDA and crucial military decisions appeared to be guided by impulsive emotions rather than strategic acumen, which I find hard to believe, as military decisions are typically well-thought-out and rational. In contrast, a film like “Lakshya” (2004), which was a fictional account of the 1999 Operation Vijay in Kargil, managed to weave a more realistic narrative while still being captivating.

One aspect that “Major” did get right was its ability to tap into emotions. The filmmakers recognized that 26/11 remains an emotionally charged topic for many of us who helplessly witnessed the horrors unfold on our TV screens, feeling lifeless and powerless to act. They skillfully used this emotional backdrop to sell their story, but unfortunately, it came at the cost of honoring the memory of the martyrs and victims of 26/11, as well as celebrating the remarkable life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

If I were to rate the movie, I would give it a modest 3 out of 5 stars. Two marks are for successfully evoking emotions, and one mark is for the filmmakers’ commitment to bring Major Unnikrishnan’s story to the screen. However, these positive aspects are overshadowed by the movie’s failure to deliver an accurate and respectful portrayal of the events and the individuals involved.

As I reflect on the film, I can’t help but hope that a capable filmmaker will emerge in the future, someone who can do justice to the incredible heroics of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and create a film that truly honors his legacy, setting a higher standard for biopics of India’s greatest heroes from the 2000s.

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