— Written By Akhil Saxena
Campus Law Center, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi
Uri was released on 11th January 2019, starring Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal and other famous Bollywood stars. In the troubled times when hypernationalism has engulfed our nation and elections are forthcoming, the situation couldn’t be more apt to showcase a war film demonstrating the might of the Indian Army. I heard some rumors that Uri is even better than one of the best war films ever made in Bollywood, Border. Coming to the movie, it incorporates the events that led to the surgical strikes taking place in 2016, attacking the terrorist launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, giving a befitting response to an uncowardly act of terrorists to attack Uri base camp and martyring 19 soldiers of the Indian army. Overall, the storyline revolves around the valiant efforts of our soldiers to avenge the death of the befallen, the strategy of our Government and intel agencies to execute such Ghaatak attack, being termed as “Aaj tak ka sabse ghaatak Surgical Strike”.This in itself undermines the earlier efforts of the Indian army’s cross border operations aimed to eliminate the threat lurking on the border.
The movie starts with the cross border operation at Indo- Myanmar border against NSCN militants, where all the militants have gathered for a meeting and the special forces led by a beefed up Vicky Kaushal, through his wit and valor outsmarts and kills every single militant present without a single casualty to his own team,not to forget a one on one combat with the leader of NSCN,well its all Bollywood for you folks. The story stays strong for the first 30 minutes but becomes bland after the unravelling of the personal life of Major Vihan Shergill. An ailing mom, suffering from Alzheimer has started to forget everyone and Major Shergill, realising he has a duty towards his mother as well requests to retire but instead is promised around the clock nurse for his mother and a desk job in administration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi played by Rajit Kapur. Rajit Kapur failed to impress as Modi whose personality can easily be depicted eloquently. This scene clearly depicts that being a soldier is so hard when you have to choose between your family and country.
Based on true events, the media focused mainly on the acting skills of Vicky Kaushal but failed to appreciate a fabulous debut performance by Mohit Raina as Major Karan Kashyap. Even though he could not be a part of the Surgical Strikes, he and his troops became one of the major reasons for its happening. The scene depicting his daughter, who shouts with “Full Josh” , the war cry, was very natural and tragic, gave me goosebumps, and the only time it happened. Ajit Doval potrayed by Paresh Rawal has been kept very natural and simple.The movie again takes a U-turn when Major Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) decides to lead the team for a major operation in POK, a sudden transformation from desk job to leading the elite forces again leaves people wondering as to how could this happen. As has been the notion with Bollywood , Pakistan and its people have always been characterized as incompetent and bereft, which is not so in real life.
What left me bemused was when the Indian commando team heads back home on foot through the jungles, in the darkness of the night, a Pakistani chopper attacks them, firing at the running men from the air. Not one Indian soldier got shot! He could not be, because Vihaan had promised India’s Prime Minister that he would make sure every commando returns home unscathed.
Finally , I would like to say, the script has a motive culminated by political vendetta, as can be seen from the timing of the release. Uri in its entirety claims to carve “a new India” as can be seen from “hum ghar mein ghusenge bhi aur maarenge bhi “.What I feel is, boasting about conducting surgical strikes, the Indian government has lost the element of surprise. Surgical strikes or I should say, cross border operations have been held earlier as well and this is not the first time Indian army felt avenging the deaths of its soldiers, but the implication is that our army officers and jawans were a runt until the present dispensation came along. The chest thumping and self-congratulatory mode didn’t exist earlier as the governments in those times knew the importance of covert operations and why no information has to be divulged in the mainstream. No doubt the director should be credited for the combat sequences, ambush, gunfire, fistfights, sniper shots which are realistically shot. At the same time, sound effects are doing justice to a war flick. Vote politics has entered a new avenue these days, using the army as an institution for power is stooping to a new level which cannot be even imagined.
“How’s the Josh? High sir”
Vicky Kaushal failed to strike a chord for me, what Sunny Deol managed in Border. This dialogue lacked strength and could not match up to the levels of what could have been created. The josh must have been high but we could not share the same enthusiasm. I salute the army and its efforts to protect this Nation, which cannot be described in this article but I condemn this new India’s vote politics. Uri might be a game changer for the government as people are showering praise to this movie but even surgical strikes could not achieve what Vajpayee achieved in his tenure, the safety of our soldiers. War is not easy and not an answer for peace, which was beautifully depicted in Border but Uri failed to live on that sentiment. Ultimately, it is the soldier who pays the price which we all fail to understand. Coming to the question, whether it could match the josh of Border (1997), I will say, it doesn’t hold a candle. Uri is like a bomb which tries to explode at some points but fails to create an impact it is expected to.