Uri review: Taut narration; action scenes keep you hooked

Director: Aditya Dhar

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Mohit Raina, Yami Gautam, Kirti Kulhari, Paresh Rawal

Rating: *** 1/2

Uri is about the 2016 surgical strike by the Indian army on the Pakistani militants in Karachi. This was the revenge for the cowardly terrorist attack on the unsuspecting Indian soldiers in Uri base camp. The team for this highly charged covert operation is led by major Vihan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) and he’s driven by patriotic and personal reasons. 

Director Aditya Dhar establishes Vihan’s character much in the beginning as someone who’s driven, brave and loved by his unit. Vihan chooses to get away from action, as he wants to spend some time with his mother who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. His friend and brother-in-law Captain Karan Kashyap (Mohit Raina) continues being in the forefront. Soon, a tragic turn of events in his personal life forces Vihan to be back on the border, helming the surgical attack.

Apart from a unit that he handpicks specially for this mission, he has two women Pallavi Sharma (Yami Gautam) and Jaskeerat (Kirti Kulhari) to help him. The mastermind for the operation is the National security advisor to the PM, Govind (Paresh Rawal). Govind, who’s clearly modelled after NSA Ajit Doval, gets the credit for the planning and execution of the operation. Paresh Rawal has taken pains to look like Doval and does a good job. Veteran actor Rajit Kapoor plays the prime minister and the character is evidently based on PM Narendra Modi. 

It is to the director’s credit that he keeps the war scenes as realistic as possible, and the action sequences are taut, to the point and keeps you hooked throughout. In a few really well executed combat scenes, the director manages to keep us involved with the goings on. While the first half is riveting, the second half of the film disappoints as it relies on predictable tropes which takes your mind away from the otherwise taut narration. Dhar leaves no stone unturned when executing the war scenes and keeps you involved and aware of the dangers of the war and that is the big plus for the film.

Vicky Kaushal is fantastic in the Major’s role. He has evidently beefed himself up to fit into the role and looks perfect for the part. His steely demeanour even as he is going through a vulnerable situation, shows the inner strength of the character he plays. Mohit Raina also looks very much the part he plays and gives good support. The girls, Yami and Keerti, don’t have much to do, but are perfect fit for the characters they play.

Watch this film for sure as the action scenes keep you hooked even as you are introduced to the modern war weapons, including a drone.  The story might or might not be exaggerating what really happened across the border that night, but the film gives a close glimpse of the real dangers that the soldiers face on an every day basis.