Uri review: A slick war film Newsखबर. Dated: 1/10/2019 10:43:24 AM | No. of Hits 199

Uri movie cast: Vicky Kaushal, Mohit Raina, Paresh Rawal, Rajit Kapoor, Yami Gautam, Kirti Kulhari, Swaroop Sampat
Uri movie director: Aditya Dhar
Uri movie rating: Two stars

That a film about a solider fighting to keep his country safe will be full of valour and ‘desh-bhakti’ is a given. The surgical strikes India undertook in Pakistan are at the heart of this film, and we get all the requisite elements of a ‘war film’: action in the war-zones, hovering helicopters, brave army men and women, cowardly enemies, and the relentless rat-a-tat of machine-guns, the devastation caused by hand grenades, and bodies exploding in a gush of blood.

But because this is a Bollywood film, we get a hand-to-hand combat moment for our hero Major Vihaan Shergill (Kaushal). How else are we to appreciate his bravery? The major and his unit, which includes Captain Karan Kashyap (Raina), spearheads the surgical strikes, and we get a Hollywood-influenced build up: chatter between war-room strategists, those who are in-charge of advanced weaponry, and the men who give the orders. A young wet-behind-the-ear nerd and his ‘creation’ causes an old warhorse to say: son, you may have won us the war. Straight out of a Hollywood flick.

Drone technology and sophisticated night-vision devices are all very well but we still can’t have a full-grown hero who doesn’t do ‘do-do haath’ with the baddie. Kaushal is satisfactorily bulked out and does a competent job, as does Raina, with the former getting, expectedly, more screen time to rattle his sabre.

This insistence on hero-giri makes this new film feel old-style. Other Bollywood tropes are present too: revenge, a sick mother, a newly-widowed sister, a little moppet used to throw a manipulative line at us. Action, emotion, drama, it’s all there, beat for beat: more Border than Zero Dark Thirty.

Uri: The Surgical Strike is slickly made, and on the whole keeps you watching despite some clunky passages. It’s always good to have movies in which the soldiers look real, even if the action is buoyed by such dialogues as ‘unhe Kashmir chaihye, humein unka sar’. If that’s not jingoism, I don’t know what is. The Pakistanis are shown as a bunch of not exactly incompetents, but incapable of matching up to the Indians.
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But the timing of the movie’s release is suspect. We are in the buildup to the polls, and in a film where Prime Minister Modi (Kapoor), his national security advisor Doval (Rawal), have significant screen time, and are seen to be commanding the action, there is no doubt what Uri is intended to do: to tell us that patriotism and nationalism, those stellar virtues which will cement ‘a new India’ vests in these worthies and their faithfuls alone.

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