Film Review URI-The Surgical Strike
By SUNITA VIJAY
Uri’s release is an understandable and
strategically planned coincidence, especially in the year when the country is preparing for the general elections, at par with the meticulous planning of the successful surgical strike in POK in 2016. The movie glorifies the victory that was the result of very swift planning and equally swift execution. It’s not that this surgical strike was a maiden attempt. As the Outlook magazine quoted then, “India has performed similar operations at least three times in the past, going by official records,” although the DGMO claims not having any records of any surgical strike before this. Seeing its impact on the citizens, debutant director Aditya Dhar writes an exciting story inspired by this particular incident with predictably plodding narratives. Uri evokes curiousness expecting some spilling secrets and behind-the-closed-doors deliberations that may have occurred before the final execution of the surgical strike, a piece of news that made the chest of every Indian swell with pride.
The film focusses on how this operation was planned based on specific intelligence, an attack on the launch pads in Pakistan with no damage to civilians. It involved deliberate insertion to a target area and precise execution. The man in charge in Uri is Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal), a special force commando, who proved his mettle earlier in a crucial combat at Myanmar border, a man with strategic mind, fists of iron and a patriotic heart. He expresses his wish to seek premature retirement to take care of his ailing mother suffering from Alzheimer. But the country needed him and he is shifted to the headquarters in Delhi. The soldier in him longs to be on the field but the conflicting duties and responsibilities back home act as a deterrent. The itch and urge of a decorated valiant soldier to be on field, someone not meant for the monotonous desk job, is expressed brilliantly by Kaushal through his subtle expressions. Rumi’s saying “what you seek is seeking you”, proves right here. An avenging tragedy in his life forces him to be back in action for a mission. This proves brightly that one thrives where one truly belongs and that is our right fully destined place.
Uri is not a flawless execution. It is an assortment of many sad, sweet, brave, pride-filled emotions evoking moments. Few come in the form of patriotic dialogues by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, role played befittingly by Rajit Kapur, ‘Desh bhi toh maa hai’ and by Paresh Rawal playing the NSA’s part of Ajit Doval, who says, ‘Hindustan ab chup nahi bethega, yeh naya Hindustan hai, yeh ghar mein ghusega bhi aur marega bhi’. The heart bleeds, the emotions melt and tears flow incessantly down the eyes when we see the tears rolling down on the cheeks of Shergill while attending the funeral of a colleague martyr; the officer in him stands tall and straight, acts brave in his uniform but the vulnerable man in him has no control over his heart’s ‘hurtful feelings’. What follows is the revengeful reply through the surgical strike to address the merciless death of nineteen army personnel who were attacked by Pakistan when they were sleeping in their camp. It comprised the chosen team members who had personal vengeance clubbed with the duty and love for the country to execute an impactful attack.
Dhar’s direction and intelligent cinematography does not have many ‘edge-of-the-seat’ moments but it is not bereft of some fabulous thrilling scenes. Whether it is the presentation by the Intelligence officers, or meetings at PMO, interrogation of terrorists, an innovative invention of a drone-bird by an intern at DRDO or the peep into the domestic life of an army officer; all have been given their deserving space. Some humour in uniform was expected and the half-baked roles of supporting actors robbed it of soaring beyond a limit.
Mohit Raina impresses everyone as the brother-in-law and colleague of Shergill. Kirti Kulhari plays a shunted Air Force pilot who is seeking a chance to bounce back and prove her patriotic zeal; a small part played well. Yami Gautam, is an intelligence agent working to go to the depths of Uri attack. Paresh Rawal is sincere enough to play Ajit Doval, a man who played a crucial role in the strike.
The music of Uri has a patriotic flavour with drum beats and stirring notes.
Vicky Kaushal is in great form; a well-toned soldier with lock, stock and barrel of an army man. He immaculately lifts the movie with his impressive presence. His heroism is glorified in filmy style in hand-to-hand combat scenes when he throws away the gun and flexes his muscles against the most dreaded terrorist. His physical fitness, action-timings and expressions all merge and blend with his role.
Uri gives every reason to salute our men in uniform and others who work as behind-the-scene supporting personnel, the brains behind the successful mission. It is an ode to our brave-hearts, a tribute to our defence forces who fight all odds without being bothered of returning home alive or wrapped in the national flag. To be present at ground zero with enemies loaded with guns and facing all the dynamics that may arise that may be completely contradictory to the plan is something our soldiers have handled well.
Despite suffering from a lengthy running time, Uri is relishing. The soldiers look real and combat scenes are believable. As Major Shergill roars at his team, ‘How’s The Josh?’, ‘High Sir!’ comes the reply, defining the patriotic enthusiasm the movie is charged with.
I go with three stars.