Sobhita Dhulipala is set to make a splash with her film Major. The Sashi Kiran Tikka directorial, with actor Adivi Sesh in the lead role, is based on the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was martyred in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
This is the second time Sobhita is working with Adivi Sesh after Goodachari (2018). Interestingly, she knew about Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan as Sesh talked about the film back then. “But I never knew that I would be part of the film! So when the offer came, I embraced it,” she said.
The actress plays the role Pramoda, a hostage in the Taj Mahal hotel. Apparently, in real life this role was played by a man. The makers have changed the gender to suit certain sensibilities of the story.
Sobhita states that when you play a role (a hostage) of such magnitude, based on a real life character, you have to do it with sensitivity and responsibility — pay respect to those (real-life hostage) people.
Interestingly the film runs in parallel screenplays. While one track shows Major Sandeep’s journey the other parallel track is that of the operation in the Taj hotel. “The 36 hours of operation at the Taj was incredible,” she describes, adding that the episode was grippingly shot in the film. "These two tracks have different styles of narration, emotion and sentiment," says Sobhita.
She describes her role as a character filled with ‘high emotions.’ The actress states that it’s incredible to see someone (Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan) showing bravery during such dark times. “That’s what makes him a hero. When someone responds to such times, it defines who they are. It’s a journey of human spirit where people put in extraordinary effort,” she says.
Sobhita Dhulipala from the film Major
How challenging has it been playing Pramoda? “More than challenging, it’s been a responsibility and a privilege. I have to respect what that character went through. The different layers with various emotions so that I stay true to the role. I gave my most sincere effort,” express the actress.
While she has done a lot of homework, her approach and intention to the role was very clinical — not to act but to honour a real person. “Also I need to value the human courage that was shown during those terrible times. While playing the character, all such incidents had immense influence on me. It gave me immense respect for such people,” she maintains, adding that playing the part was a life-time experience.
Sobhita describes her co-star Sesh as one who relentlessly pursues something he believes. “I have seen his obsession and how passionate he is about his work. His research work and level of detailing is very inspiring,” she says.
The actress has been dabbling in different roles and in different genre films. She likes to experience what is like to be another person.
“I’d like to throw myself deep into the character’s emotions. And that’s when I find it enriching. I am drawn to characters that are soulful, just like this Pramoda,” she shares.
While Sobhita has done a handful of films in Hindi, interestingly, being a Telugu girl, she has done only two Telugu films. “I did one film Kurup , in the South. And just when I wanted to do more films in Telugu, the pandemic created havoc. And I am also part of Mani Ratnam Sir’s Ponniyin Selvan. I am glad that I have been making steady progress in the South too,” she says.
A rank outsider, the actress has been a success story so far. One of the reasons according to her is that it is a pleasure to do what you love.
“I had no idea I would enter this field. No one in my family has a connection with the film industry. I did modelling after winning a pageant show. But still I felt something was missing. And then I got into acting. I loved it so much that I’d love to treasure all the experiences I encountered while playing various roles,” she says.
The actress says she loves playing historical roles. And with Ponniyin Selvan her wish came true. “I play a classical dancer. For the first time, I had the opportunity to showcase my dance moves,” she beams.
While she always wanted to do a happy character because she is a happy person in life, she is surprised that she mostly gets serious characters. “Initially, I did not have the opportunity to choose a character. I picked up the best from what I got. But now I feel that I have gained the trust of the directors, the producers, and the audience to do all kinds of roles,” she says.