Director – Aditya Dhar
cast – Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Kriti Kulhari, Rajit Kapoor, Mohit Raina, Swaroop Sampat
Appreciation – 2/5
Rajit Kapur plays the prime minister in Uri. Best remembered as the truth-seeking genus Byomkesh Bakshi in the long-running TV series of the same name, the veteran actor finds a basic bearded grace and remains understated as he weighs on contemplation of war decisions and about his soldiers' mothers. It is this man who stands out for everything, you see. In a film about a successful military operation released in an election year, this celebration of credit cannot be completely considered arbitrary.
A little, in fact, is back to chance in debutant director Aditya Dhar's film, a licking war function about a retaliation that never seems to pose a challenge. There is a fighting sequence around every corner – they may well have the title Call of Desi Duty – but the Indian army is depicted as so gloomy and well-prepared that the cartoonist hooked evil enemy never stands a chance.
Look at the Uri trailer here
Take Vicky Kaushal, play gung-ho Major Vihaan Shergill, a well-built jawaan with an ever-breathing breast that not only determines strategy, excels intelligence agents and leads men in battle, but finds time to engage in one-on-one battle with terrorists of all stripes. He moves with a weird sweep in his hips – like a GI Joe action figure that has worn out the rubber band on his spine – but fights like a heroic wrestler, all brave moves and war cries. His head can be weighed down by traditional genre pairs of sick mothers and widow sisters, but on his lips are either orders or screams.
Paresh Rawal is competent as a national security advisor.
Meanwhile, Paresh Rawal discusses artillery attacks with the tenderness of a ghazal-loving uncle who instructs novice cooks on the slow cooking of a layer of lamb. "Halke Halhaate Rahiyega, Halke Halke," he says, raises the shooting line and plays a sign visibly modeled on current national security advisor Ajit Doval. Rawal makes him a beautiful, mobile-braking action man, one who sees very talented interns and gives them too much to do, but the trustworthy fine actor makes it seem natural, even lines like "son, you can just have won us the war."
Uri is a decent-looking movie – although the cinematographer seems to have been told to highlight the lens in every shot of the night fight – and while the action is convincing, the case is not boring. The movie does not hit the chest as hard as those made by JP Dutta, but just wearing the shirt does not make this an actual movie. There is no tension here and some attempts to produce breathlessness are childish. For example, there is a scene involving a Pakistani soldier who catches an Indian drone … just to think it's a toy.
Uri can be a boring movie, but it gives the drama by showing the army's efficiency.
As I looked at Uri, I continued to wonder about the point of such a congratulating movie. The performances are mostly solid – square jawed Mohit Raina and the beautiful Swaroop Sampat stand out – and the action looks good, but this is an uninteresting depiction of a best scenario. As Indian soldiers thundered bright green night vision goggles and punished expertly outside a terrorist relationship, it became clearer. This may be a boring movie, but it only gives drama by showing Indian audiences that our military can be competent.
The goal is unprepared, countless and out of bullets. The Pakistani police, like our policemen throughout Indian cinema history, come to the scene late. The Indian army, on the other hand, has everything under control. That efficiency can feel great to an Indian audience and Uri therefore becomes less a feature film and more an ad. Imaginations are about desire fulfillment. Uri made me want Rajit Kapur, this soft-toned man without Vivek Oberoi, to be our prime minister.
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First Published: January 11, 2019 9:40 AM IST