Over the years, many Bollywood filmmakers have decided to take the patriotic route and make nationalism-infused dramas. Patriotism is the key to the hearts of the audience and this formula seems to be working fairly well, and box office numbers are proof.
As a build-up to the ‘real action’ that is awaiting us in the second half of the film, Uri: The Surgical Strikeopens with a terrifying attack on an Indian Army infantry in Chandel district of Manipur. The ambush was perpetrated by Naga extremists on June 4, 2015. The Para SF of the Indian Army had retaliated against it six days later on June 10, 2015, a mission that had caused heavy insurgent casualties.
The latest in the slew of nationalist films is Uri: The Surgical Strike, starring Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam and Kirti Kulhari. It is based on the September 2016 retaliation surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army in response to the terror attacks at Uri, the army base camp in Kashmir. Vicky plays the role of a dedicated soldier, Vihaan, who is known for his meticulous strategising and planning in missions. After a successful mission, he wishes to retire from army life, as his mother needs him.
One of the biggest victories of Uri: The Surgical Strike is that it almost does away with jingoism. Yes, it does feature dialogues such as “Unhe Kashmir chahiye aur humein unka sar” but there is only a handful of them. In this context, Uri: The Surgical Strike is a rather mature film. It somehow knows that it is catering to the viewer that is tired of watching the men in uniform who thump their chests to show their love and passion for the country.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, played by Rajit Kapur sanctimoniously reminds him, “Desh bhi toh humari maa hai.” Deshbhakti and veiled propaganda ahead of the 2019 elections reverberate more strongly than the background music sometimes. The storyline isn’t entirely unpredictable; we know what will push Vihaan to take up the mission of the surgical strikes against the terrorists.
Vihaan keeps his promise and brings back all the men on mission alive. The same cannot be said about this film’s director though. Nevertheless, Uri: The Surgical Strike is a good one-time watch. If not for anything else, watch it for Vicky Kaushal, who brings the right amount of intensity to his role and drives the film from start to finish.