Major, the biopic of the 26/11 hero Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, was premiered at Syndicate Cinema, Koppam, on Friday evening to a unique audience of defence personnel and their families. The occasion turned out to be a revival of the proud moments that the National Security Guard (NSG) commandoes achieved by liberating Mumbai from a group of terrorists.
NSG commando P.V. Manesh (Shaurya Chakra), who had fought along with Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and crippled during the Operation Black Tornado, was the centre of attraction at Syndicate Cinema as he recounted his moments of reckoning at Hotel Oberoi, Mumbai.
Mr. Manesh, whose right side was paralysed and who still carries inside his head splinters of a grenade that blast above his helmet ripping off a part of his skull, amazed the crowd comprising retired and serving defence personnel and their families as well as the cadets of the National Cadets Corps (NCC) from P.T.M.Y. Higher Secondary School, Edappalam, with his unwavering grit.
Mr. Manesh described Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan as the best officer he saw. “I worked with him for two-and-a-half years. He was such a loving officer, and he never abused anyone,” said Mr. Manesh.
He made an impassioned call during the function to feature in school textbooks the brave soldiers who fought for the country. “Our children must study the history of our soldiers and their bravery. We, the soldiers, are the asset of the country and guest home,” he said.
The NCC cadets offered a guard-of-honour to the defence personnel. The felicitation that preceded the screening of the movie Major directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka began with the NCC song “Hum Sab Bharatiya Hai”.
The NCC cadets were curious to know the most important quality to become an NSG commando. “Tolerance and forbearance are the essential qualities to become a commando. But they cannot be taught in a training school. You should learn them from home,” said Mr. Manesh.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s last words “Do not come up; I’ll handle them,” and Lt. Col. E.K. Niranjan’s last words “Dad, I’m on an operation,” brought back emotional memories for the families who gathered in the cinema. Lt. Col Niranjan was killed in a Pathankot operation in January 2016.
Col. P.M. Hameed, vice president of the All India Ex-Service Men League, welcomed the gathering. T. Yunus, chief executive officer of Syndicate Cinema, said that the word syndicate itself suggested grouping of persons with the same interest. “It’s not just a theatre. It will be a platform for people of varied interests to gather. Very soon we are organising a gathering of animal lovers,” said Mr. Yunus.
Syndicate Cinema chairman Sajit, NCC officer Capt. Bhagwan Das, Vilayur panchayat president Baby Girija M.K., and C.V. Viswanathan spoke. The defence personnel were felicitated at the function.