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Major Ravi: Jack of All Trades

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Mohanlal
Who is better qualified to make films on the army operations? A difficult question to answer, since we have many eminent filmmakers in India who can deal with anything! Let's think of an army officer who comes home for a month's leave, spends times with his children by narrating his hazardous experiences in the army with lots of suspense and thrill! Wouldn't we love to have such a jawan-turned-filmmaker rather than one who can hardly imagine a real-time war? Of course, yes! And luckily we do have one. It is none other than film-maker Major Ravi, a former Indian army officer.

Major Ravi joined the Indian Army as a jawan in 1975 and graduated from the Army Cadet College to become a commando in 1988. After working for around two decades for the Indian Army, Ravi, a recipient of the President's medal, became a military consultant for Indian films. He was associated with many eminent Indian filmmakers like Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Santhoshi (Pukar), Kamal Haasan (Aalavandan), and Mani Ratnam (Kannathil Muthamittal).

His first feature film was Keertichakra in Malayalam with Mohanlal, a film on Kashmir militancy. His second movie, Mission 90 Days, was his own experience of the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case. He is currently working on his next project titled Kurukshetra, based on the real story of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in Kashmir.

But Major Ravi says he marched into film-making purely by chance. "I hated writing. I would rather hold a gun than a pen." What made this army man choose to wield the megaphone instead of the gun? "There are some things that need to be told to the public and there's no better medium to communicate than through films," he says.

Having personally participated in several milestones of Indian military history, like commando action against Rajiv Gandhi's killers, the Kargil war or the Kandahar hijack, Major Ravi chose to make films on his personal accounts of history. His first film, Keertichakra, dealt with how terrorist groups in Kashmir create confusion and fear with an aim to paralyse normal life. Kurukshetra is based on the Kargil war, but the war will be replayed with a different twist, he tells.

Kurukshetra will feature three war sequences, constituting one-third of the movie! it will also feature real war practice sessions of the Indian Army. This is for the first time a Malayalam movie is getting permission to shoot the actual practice sessions of the Indian Army.

After Kurukshetra, Ravi is all set to make another film, Kandahar, which is based on his experience as a member in the investigating team that probed the IC-814 flight hijacking eight years ago. The movie brings together Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan as commandos, he reveals.

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