Uri review: Vicky Kaushal leads an efficient but unimpressive attack
Director - Aditya Dhar
Cast - Vicky Kaushal, Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam, Kriti Kulhari, Rajit Kapoor, Mohit Raina, Swaroop Sampat
Rating - 2/5
Rajit Kapur plays the Prime Minister in Uri. Best remembered as truth-seeking sleuth Byomkesh Bakshi in the long-running television serial of the same name, the veteran actor finds a basic, bearded grace and stays understated as he chews thoughtfully on decisions about war and about the mothers of his soldiers. It is this man who signs off on everything, you see. In a movie about a successful military operation released in an election year, this celebration of credit cannot quite be considered coincidental.
Little, in fact, is left to chance in debutant director Aditya Dhar’s film, a slick war feature about a revenge mission that never appears to pose a challenge. There is a combat sequence around every corner — they may well have titled it Call Of Desi Duty — but the Indian Army are depicted as so valorous and well-prepared that the cartoonishly hook-nosed evil enemy never stands a chance.
Watch the Uri trailer here
Take Vicky Kaushal, playing gung-ho Major Vihaan Shergill, a well-built jawaan with a perpetually puffed chest, who not only decides strategy, outthinks intelligence agents and leads men into battle, but finds time to engage in one-on-one fighting with terrorists of all stripes. He moves with an oddly fey swing of the hips — like a GI Joe action figure who has worn out the rubber-band at his spine — yet fights like a heroic wrestler, all brave moves and war cries. His head may be weighed down by traditional genre tropes of ill mothers and widowed sisters, but on his lips are either orders or screams.
Meanwhile, Paresh Rawal discusses artillery attacks with the tenderness of a ghazal-loving uncle instructing novice chefs about slow-cooking a leg of lamb. “Halke halke badhaate rahiyega,” he says about increasing firing across the line of control, playing a character visibly modelled on current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Rawal makes him a canny, cellphone-breaking man of action, one who spots very talented interns and gives them far too much to do, but the reliably fine actor makes it seem natural, even lines like “Son, you may have just won us the war.”
Watch: Raja Sen’s Movie Review of Uri: The Surgical Strike | Vicky Kaushal | Yami Gautam
Uri is a decent looking film — though the cinematographer appears to have been told to highlight the lens-flare in every single shot of nighttime combat — and while the action is convincing, the proceedings are unmistakably dull. The film doesn’t thump its chest as hard as the ones made by JP Dutta, but merely keeping its shirt on doesn’t make this an actual movie. There is no tension to be found here, and any attempts to manufacture breathlessness are childish. There is, for instance, a scene involving a Pakistani soldier who captures an Indian drone… only to believe it’s a toy.
While watching Uri, I kept wondering about the point of such a self-congratulatory film. The performances are mostly solid — the square jawed Mohit Raina and the lovely Swaroop Sampat stand out — and the action looks okay, but this is an uninteresting depiction of a best-case scenario. Then, as the Indian soldiers donned bright green night-vision goggles and strafed expertly outside a terrorist compound, it became clearer. This might be a boring film, but it provides drama simply by showing Indian audiences that our military can be competent.
The target is unprepared, outnumbered and out of bullets. The Pakistani police, like our cops throughout the history of Indian cinema, arrive late to the scene. The Indian army, on the other hand, has everything under control. That efficiency may feel fantastical to an Indian audience, and Uri becomes therefore less a feature film and more an advertisement. Fantasies are about wish-fulfilment. Uri made me wish that Rajit Kapur, this soft-spoken man with no resemblance to Vivek Oberoi, was indeed our Prime Minister.
Follow @htshowbiz for more
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Kangana Ranaut once claimed credit for some iconic scenes in Queen, and said that she did not expect much from the film.
- Ibrahim Ali Khan's friend has shared a picture with the star kid from their family home, Pataudi Palace. See it here.
- Actor Ankita Lokhande has defended Mahhi Vij and Jay Bhanushali against allegations that they abandoned their foster children.
- Karan Johar took to Instagram and shared a video of his children Roohi and Yash role-playing as a mother-son duo.
- Shraddha Kapoor and Ranveer Singh were spotted at the birthday bash of her rumoured boyfriend, celebrity photographer Rohan Shrestha. See pictures here.
- Kangana Ranaut has said that she did Queen 'for money' and never thought it would even be released. The film celebrates its seventh anniversary on Sunday.
- Pictures of Shah Rukh Khan at his parents' grave site in New Delhi showed the actor paying his respects. Shah Rukh's parents died when he was very young.
- Pooja Bhatt has revealed the advice her father Mahesh Bhatt gave her before shooting a romantic scene with Sanjay Dutt in Sadak.
- Sonam Kapoor, who lives in London, shared a throwback picture from their childhood to wish Janhvi Kapoor on her birthday. See here.
- An unseen picture of Saif Ali Khan with his son Ibrahim Ali Khan from latter's birthday bash has surfaced online. See it here.
- Priyanka Chopra has shared information about a new restaurant called Sona in New York. She has been creatively involved with it from contributing in its design, menu, music and even with its name.
- Elli AvrRam has shared the first look of her upcoming dance number with Aamir Khan, from the film Koi Jaane Na.
- Actor Pooja Bhatt has said that she took a step back from acting because she had no desire to play 'arm candy' to heroes.