Uri: The Surgical Strike from writer director Aditha Dhar has to be looked as a fictional war film if you wish to enjoy it to the fullest. Because, on an agenda level the movie is problematic. I am saying problematic because there is a sense of hate spreading narrative here which I personally can’t tolerate beyond and extent. And the props to build the story are also visible from far away. But technically, this movie is fabulous and with a flawless Vicky Kaushal at the center of it, Uri: The Surgical Strike is definitely not a bad movie.
Major Vihan Singh Shergill is our main protagonist. He is this smart and young officer who decided to take a break at the peak of his career to take care of his mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Vihan who was doing a desk job at Delhi was forced to go back to the action when he lost someone dear in the URI attack. India’s reply to this attack was the surgical strike and how Vihan settles the score through the surgical strike is what the movie showing us.
It wasn’t the chest thumping patriotism that I loved in the film. The cinegoer in me felt that Uri is a doorway to more war films that will have visual quality which can compete with international films. Coming to the patriotic angle, Aditya Dhar is aware of the fact that jingoism may not work with the audience. So he very smartly manipulates the viewer. Before the interval there is a scene where a small girl gives the last salute to her martyred father and I honestly couldn’t control my tears. This incident actually happened, but the backdrop of it wasn’t the URI attacks. Dhar’s manipulation becomes smart in such aspects. The movie admits that they don’t have insider information, so the fiction is clearly visible and will remind you of a plenty of Hollywood movies like Zero dark thirty, hurt locker etc.
As a director, Aditya Dhar aspires to make a Hollywood kind of realistic presentation of the situation. And a good portion of the movie is in that tone and that makes the movie a visually compelling treatment. But the writer in him occasionally comes up with lines and scenes that just play for the gallery. “They want Kashmir and we want their head”, “The nation is also a mother” and the “This is a new India” dialogue from the trailer etc. puts the movie in that jingoistic zone. To be honest, it is the sheer technical perfection in the cinematography department aided by blended visual effects and impeccable sound design that covers up the flaws in the politics of the movie. One thing that was good about last year’s Raazi was that it sort of respected the character of the Pakistani characters and focused mainly on the diplomatic problem. But here the representation prefers the stereotypical way. The cinematography is so brilliant that even when you know what could well be the outcome, you will feel the tension in the atmosphere.
Vicky Kaushal is becoming a versatile talent. He is believable as that solid soldier. Vihan is tough and vulnerable. In the scene I mentioned previously, Vicky Kaushal is in the attention position but yet through his teary eyes and inability to scream, he conveys the pain so effectively. “How’s the josh?” sounded so authentic from his mouth. Mohit Raina as Major Karan was really impressive. Paresh Rawal as Govind Ji, a character modeled after Ajit Doval is okay. Yami Gautam and Kriti Kulhari are the important female characters who don’t actually have much of work here. Rajit Kapur as Narendra Modi looked much better than Vivek “Anand” Oberoi.
Uri : The Surgical Strike is a technically brilliant film in terms of production values and quality of visuals along with perfect sound design. The script here is problematic on many levels, but luckily it’s not a J P Dutta kind of war movie. Because of the visual impact of the movie I feel that people won’t think too much about the problematic areas of the content and that in a way is the film maker’s success here.
Because of the visual impact of the movie I feel that people won’t think too much about the problematic areas of the content and that in a way is the film maker’s success here.