Hard-hit­ting war drama makes all the right moves Uri: The Sur­gi­cal Strike

The Sunday Guardian - - MASALA ART -

Di­rec­tor: Aditya Dhar

Star­ring: Vicky Kaushal, Mo­hit Raina, Paresh Rawal, Yami Gau­tam

On 18 Septem­ber 2016 four ter­ror­ists at­tacked an army base near the town of Uri in the Bara­mulla dis­trict of Jammu and Kash­mir. As many as 19 In­dian Army sol­diers were killed in the fe­day­een at­tack. In re­sponse, the In­dian Army con­ducted sur­gi­cal strikes against sus­pected mil­i­tants in Pak­istan Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir (POK). Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Sur­gi­cal Strike presents a dra­ma­tized ac­count of the en­tire episode start­ing with the Uri ter­ror­ist at­tack and cul­mi­nat­ing with the re­tal­ia­tory sur­gi­cal strikes car­ried by the In­dian Army. Uri is es­sen­tially a war drama that doesn’t back down from de­pict­ing no holds barred

graphic vi­o­lence sel­dom seen in main­stream Hindi cin­ema.

Aditya Dhar’s hard hit­ting war drama has all the right in­gre­di­ents. There is ten­sion, drama, thrill, and non­stop ac­tion. Also we have some solid per­for­mances on of­fer with Vicky Kaushal once again lead­ing from the front. The film also has a bunch of mem­o­rable spe­cial ap­pear­ances. Among them the per­for­mances by Rakesh Bedi and Rukhshar stand out. How­ever, the film’s first half fo­cused around the Uri at­tack is a pre­dictable af­fair and fails to strike the right emo­tional chords. But the screen­play gets tighter in the second half as the film man­ages to end on a high thanks to a bril­liantly chore­ographed cli­mac­tic duel fea­tur­ing jaw drop­ping hand-to-hand com­bat as well as air to air he­li­copter com­bat se­quences.

Uri as a film plays to the gallery and how. The film is high on vi­o­lence and cel­e­brates raw mas­culin­ity. Ow­ing to its high vi­o­lence quo­tient, Uri isn’t ideal for fam­ily view­ing. But, de­spite its lack­lus­ter first half and its sev­eral ex­cesses, Uri suc­ceeds in pack­ing a punch. The film’s at­ten­tion to de­tail is good. How­ever, it does fal­ter in terms of the facts with re­gards to the ac­tual sur­gi­cal strikes car­ried by the In­dian Army. Also, it takes sev­eral lib­er­ties for dra­matic pur­poses. A se­ri­ous sub­ject like Uri de­serves a far more re­li­able film than what Aditya Dhar and team have man­aged to put to­gether. But the film does de­liver in terms of the high entertainment value that it prom­ises. The in­flu­ence of Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi deeply runs through the en­tire film. In fact, it is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine Uri with­out the es­pi­onage tropes that were em­ployed to great ef­fect in Raazi. Also, there is a strong nod to the Emmy win­ning tele­vi­sion se­ries The Amer­i­cans. It would be safe to say that films on In­dian es­pi­onage are here to stay.

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