Sunday, January 13, 2019

Uri (The Surgical Strike) Mini Movie Review

I don't believe in jingoism. Which is why I wasn't sure whether I wanted to watch 'Uri : The Surgical Strike'. The thought of watching yet another variant of 'Let's go kill some Pakistanis', a film which could possibly be politically motivated, manipulative, didn't excite me. I expected the movie to have all the subtlety of Mjolnir (Thor's hammer).

I'm so glad I was wrong.

Rating 7/10.

Vicky Kaushal is a leader in the Special Forces, comes from a fauji family, and even his brother-in-law (sister's husband), Mohit Raina, (remember him from the serial Mahadev?) serves with him. Vicky's forte is planning (and executing) counterstrikes. We get a glimpse of his skillset when he carries out a mission in Manipur, in response to a terrorist attack on an army convoy. Family circumstances compel him to move to a desk job, as his mother, Swaroop Sampat, has Alzheimer's and he wants to spend some time with her before her memory fades away completely. The top brass is supportive and a nurse, Yami Gautam, is provided to help care for her. Then the attack on Uri happens. And a decision is taken to execute a surgical strike.

I loved the way they didn't make the film all about chest-thumping, Indian flag waving, anti-Pakistan rhetoric. I liked the way humour was brought in, on several instances (esp a junior official in Indian intelligence, who develops Garuda). I loved the variety of emotions displayed through the movie - a young girl, yelling even through her tears, her father's battalion's war cry. An officer worried about his mother. A quiet Air Force officer, Kirti Kulhari, biding her time on another desk job.

But, most of all, I loved Vicky Kaushal. You simply can't take your eyes off him (is it too much to hope that our fake film awards recognize this performance?). In a fabulous understated performance, his usually impassive face shows only the barest change, emotion required, but it's enough. And he's very believable in his role, fantastic in the action sequences. I loved him in Raazi, even enjoyed his acting in Manmarziyaan and loved him here too !

I wish there was more shown of the strategy / planning, yes, all of it can't be true / so simple, yes, filmy drama has been infused in adequate doses - but it still works, despite it's flaws. And special mention for the soundtrack (Shashwat Sachdev) !

Kudos to the supporting cast - Mohit, Yami, Kirti, Manasi Parikh Gohil (Vicky's sister), Dhairya Karwa, Paresh Rawal, Rajit Kapoor - and most of all to debutant Aditya Dhar, who has written and directed this film.

I don't believe in jingoism. But stand proudly and sing the national anthem everytime it's played in cinemas. Not for the mess our country is in or the grubby, greedy politicians and bureaucrats (previously or currently in charge), mostly hell bent on robbing, dividing us. But I do it out of respect for our freedom fighters and armed forces, and their dream of what India could be. Uri, for all it's flaws, reminded me of that dream once again. To all my friends who've served, this one's for you !

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