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‘Uri’ review: War in the time of polls

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Uri: The Surgical Strike

Hindi (U/A)

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Rajit Kapur, Yami Gautam

Director: Aditya Dhar

Rating: ***

Presenting to you, the prime minister who cares for the soldier’s maa. And the one who coos to him, “desh bhi toh maa hai”.

Uri: The Surgical Strike gives a generous pat on Narendra Modi’s back. And it’s slightly unsettling to see the army’s laurels resting solely on the broad shoulders of a white-bearded PM (Rajit Kapur, less Mann ki Baat, more collective decisions here).
The war drama sees more from the corridors of power – Paresh Rawal standing in for National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and two other actors with striking resemblance to Manohar Parrikar and Rajnath Singh. It’s hard to miss the election year roster. Propaganda or not, the pre-poll line-up doesn’t seem so “accidental”.

Back on the battlefield, one man ensures olive green shines brighter than saffron. Vicky Kaushal, all bulked up as a para commando, gives all it takes to avenge the 2016 killings of Indian security forces in Uri. Wounded by a personal tragedy, the Major wants to pay back the neighbour in the same coin: “ghar mein ghus ke”.

He is assisted by a gritty battalion of officers and a fleet of ‘Garud’ (bird-drones developed by a bored-at-work intern). And it helps that the enemy side is brimming with dimwits. The bearded brigade in PoK camps is always caught sleeping. And yes, Pakistan police also arrive late. How Indian!

Director Aditya Dhar knows his craft. He steers clear of in-your-face patriotic tropes. Instead, he makes a little girl let out an infectious war cry at her martyred father’s coffin.

Meanwhile, Vicky Kaushal effectively uses his silence to push the Bharat Mata tempo, amplified by a powerful background score. He takes the josh high, but politics brings it a notch down.

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