The term 'surgical strike' became a part of our common lexicon after India decided to avenge the deadly Uri terror attack, which had claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers. On 29 September 2016, special forces crossed the LoC to target terror launch pads in this high stakes operation.
Aditya Dhar’s film ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’, as the name suggests, deals with this chapter in the history of Indo-Pak ties.
The 138 minute-film is neatly divided into four parts. It starts a year before the operation, at Manipur’s Chendel district where an army truck is ambushed, and the movie ends with the euphoric Jai Hind chant after the mission is accomplished.
How does the director keep the audience hooked to the movie when we already know the trajectory of the story?
Casting Vicky Kaushal in the movie is a smart move. Apart from the fact that he embodies a dependable, battle-ready Indian soldier, Kaushal plays his role with exactly the right amount of vigour and vulnerability.
Kaushal’s performance is moving in all scenarios – from his mother’s deteriorating health to enemies killing fellow soldiers. The screenplay has also given him enough material to navigate through various emotions, which sadly isn’t the case for other characters.
Most of the others characters have functional roles with similarities that can be drawn between Rajit Kapur as PM Narendra Modi and Paresh Raval as National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s on screen avatar, too, carries an eerie resemblance.
Meanwhile, Yami Gautam, Mohit Raina and Kriti Kulhari all seem to exist to propel Major Vihan Shergill aka Vicky Kaushal to greatness. It helps that Kaushal doesn’t disappoint, but the simplistic and often choppy screenplay dampens the overall effect of the film.
‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ also benefits from Mitesh Mirchandani’s brilliant camerawork, with the night action sequences and aerial shots playing up the intensity and mood of the film.
Despite all the things working for it, ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ could have been a far better film.
Still, Vicky Kaushal’s all guns blazing avatar makes it worth a watch. 3 Quints out of 5!