High on the Josh and spirit of New India
Staging a war film isn’t an easy feat. Much is debated, discussed and strategized about the locations, the details of intrinsic operations and yet one has to keep sentiments in mind towards the final treatment, given the current social-political environment of our country.
In such a case, ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ emerges as an engaging narrative which is definitely applause-worthy, despite being, may I add, one-sided and self-congratulatory.
As it’s already revealed, the plot of the film is about the revolutionary surgical strikes led by the Indian Army in retaliation to the cowardly act where four armed terrorists from across the border entered and attacked the Indian Army basecamp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, killing 19 of our soldiers. Hence, I shall spare you from further information.
Indian war films have always faced the criticism of exploiting chest-thumping jingoism and melodrama to invoke feelings of duty and patriotism. ‘Uri..’ on that count, written by director Aditya Dhar, provides a refreshing narrative devoid of clichéd tropes. But then a dialogue like ‘Unhe Kashmir Chahiye Aur Humein Unka Sar’ somehow slips in. The action by Stefan Richter backed by Shashwat Sachdev’s BGM and Bishwadeep Chatterjee’s sound design is the strength of this film keeping the viewers invested through the proceedings and inciting the necessary Josh. DOP Mitesh Mirchandani beautifully transforms the locations of Siberia to resemble hilly terrains of Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Myanmar border. The guerrilla filming of war scenes is commendable to an extent barring a few scenes.
Coming to the performances, the film rests completely on Vicky Kaushal’s shoulders and the actor truly makes a meal of his role. It’s an impressive choice of casting as the actor is tough on the battle-field but an absolute mushbowl, when not in his uniform. Paresh Rawal as National Security Advisor Govind is outstanding. He nails it as a tough decision maker, yet he’s given a peculiar character trait which involves him dismantling flip-phones. Yami Gautam as intelligence officer Pallavi Sharma performs well and is thankfully present throughout the film, unlike her last few outings where she is knocked out after the first half (Read Action Jackson, Badlapur, Kaabil,). TV actor Mohit Raina makes an impressive debut and in a special appearance Kirti Kulhari leaves a lasting impression as Air Force Pilot Seerat Kaur. Can directors please consider her for more roles?
The film stands as a true testament to the spirit of the country’s youth and this is communicated in telling scenes. An 8-year old girl bereaved with the loss of her father salutes his memorial with a war cry. A novel invention by an intern at the DRDO proves to be instrumental in winning the war. Of course one cannot escape the propaganda the film aims at, but as a viewer and a patriot, the film must be viewed as a befitting tribute to our men in uniform and to the energy of the young and restless.
PS: I really think Rajit Kapur makes a better choice for the role of our honorable Prime Minister.