There is a certain amount of curiosity one has in films which are based on real-life events. If you have followed the event very closely, you want to know whether the filmmaker has stayed true to facts or has taken too many creative liberties. And, if you have do not have much information on the incident, you would want to watch the film, so that you get to know about it. ‘Uri The Surgical Strike’, a film based on the Uri attacks that shook the nation in 2011, marks the directorial debut of Aditya Dhar. It would be interesting to see how a first-timer has dealt with a sensitive and complex subject as this.
Major Vihaan Sheirgill (Vicky Kaushal), one of the best men on the field, tells the Prime Minister (Rajit Kapur) about his wish to retire so that he could look after his mother (Swaroop Sampath) who is suffering from Alzhemeir. She has begun to forget the people around her and he wants to spend some time with her before he forgets even him, he tells the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister suggests him taking up a desk job in the Delhi office, so that he could continue to work in the army while being around his mother. Vihaan agrees and moves to Delhi. Vihaan’s sister is married Captain Karan Kashyap who gets martyred while trying to stop an attack planned by terrorists from Pakistan at the Uri base camp. Vihaan gets deeply affected by the incident and when the opportunity comes to do a surgical strike in Pakistan on the terrorists responsible for the attack, he, along with him team members, vows to avenge the death of the martyrs.
It is not fair on my part to decide how far Aditya, who has also written the film, has stuck to the facts but he does a good job at telling the story he had set out to tell. Some people had expressed concerns over the fact that the film might be jingoistic in nature but that is not the case here. Yes, there are a few over-the-top dialogues and scenes filled with high-octane drama but all these elements must have added to make sure the film does not appear to be too real to be consumed by the mass audience. There are certain scenes which are overtly-dramatized. There is a scene in which an officer comes to meet Vihaan, weeks after Karan has passed away and one sees Vihaan being teary-eyed on his arrival. The film has a very real feel to it and all the events you see unfolding in front of your eyes seem authentic and the kind that have been chalked out after doing meticulous research.
On the flipside, there are certain portions in the first half which seem stretched. The way the mission is planned could have been explained in a little more detailed manner. Incorporating a robotic eagle seemed too convenient. The build-up to the climax could have been more interesting and the culmination should have been more impactful.
The film is Vicky Kaushal’s show all the way. He gets ample scope to bring all his talent to the fore and he does not disappoint at all. He is terrific in every scene. Yami Gautam has limited screen-time but delivers a sincere performance. Paresh Rawal is very good in a role that has been modelled on national security advisor Ajit Doval. Mohit Raina makes a confident debut in films. Swaroop Sampat leaves a huge mark in a small role. Abrar Zahoor does not have many scenes or even dialogues but he performs well within the scope he gets. His combat sequence with Vicky in the climax is nice.
‘Uri The Surgical Strike’ has its share of blemishes but does manage to tell an important story in an effective way.