Bollywood actor Vicky Kaushal, as a valiant Indian army officer, is infallible in the war drama ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’.
Displaying a quiet blend of restraint and rage, Kaushal is in top form in this movie that dramatises a covert operation undertaken by the Indian army in September 2016.
Based on true events, the film, directed by newcomer Aditya Dhar, chronicles the chain of events leading up Indian army’s secret mission to obliterate a cluster of militant camps based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir after they launched an attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers in army camps situated in Uri, a town near Srinagar.
It’s an espionage thriller that could have easily been reduced to pulpy sloganeering and chest-thumping patriotism. Fortunately, it never goes down that exhausting route, presenting a refreshingly clinical and efficient approach in the way the men in uniform come together to face their common enemy. It’s a film that is violent, but the carnage never gets tedious or overly bloody.
Be warned, the film takes its own time to get to the punchy bullet-spraying. The first half is about giving us a sturdy back story to Major Vihaan Shergill’s (Kaushal) life.
Raised in an army background, he’s a decorated war hero who comes home to be with his ailing mother. It’s a mundane existence until his brother-in-law gets killed in the Uri attacks. Shergill returns to the battlefield as an avenger who spearheads the high-profile surgical strikes to bring down the militants with questionable scruples.
Kaushal takes to the man in uniform with a mixture of brilliance and ease. The scenes in which he peps his teammates with the war-cry ‘how’s the josh [spirit]’ gives you goosebumps. It’s singularly inspirational and fills you with reflected pride for the army men (and women) who guard us selflessly.
What’s admirable about this film is that the director focuses on ramping up the tension efficiently instead of being melodramatic.
This film is also a perfect example of a well-cast production. Kaushal gets sturdy support from a motley of talents including actress Kirti Kulhari (fighter pilot), Yami Gautam (intelligence officer) and politicians Rajit Kapoor as the fictional Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Paresh Rawal as Kaushal’s boss is impressive as well.
While the violent scenes that show the army charging on terror camps is saved for the last, it’s the most effective. The parts featuring politicians planning the lethal surgical strike feel relatively staged. Choppy editing can be blamed for some of the scenes that discuss geopolitics between neighbours India and Pakistan that seem uneven.
The film is a blatant homage to the bravery displayed by the Indian army and it makes no attempts to hide its allegiance. The opponents in this film are skimmed through swiftly and remain faceless villains. It isn’t a lost battle though. There’s something hugely inspirational about watching a band of brave soldiers take down the bad guys. Give this film a sure shot.
Don’t miss it!
Film: ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’
Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal, Kirti Kulhari
Director: Aditya Dhar
Stars: 3.5 out of 5