Avrodh - The Siege Within review: The Uri Surgical Strike replay is high on drama but low on josh

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRuchi Kaushal
Jul 30, 2020 12:39 PM IST

Avrodh - The Siege Within review: Amit Sadh and Neeraj Kabi’s replay of the Uri surgical strikes is by the book but fails to give you those ‘josh’ moments.

Avrodh - The Siege Within
Amit Sadh, Neeraj Kabi, Darshan Kumaar, Madhurima Tulli, Pavail Gulati
Raj Acharya

Avrodh - The Siege Within review: Amit Sadh in a still from the show.
Avrodh - The Siege Within review: Amit Sadh in a still from the show.

Just a year and a half after Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Surgical Strike took the box office by storm and amped up the career of Vicky Kaushal, a retelling of the 2016 surgical strikes has arrived on Sony Liv with double the runtime of the film. Titled Avrodh - The Siege Within, the show has some of the most competent actors and a tight script to boot. But, with no ‘how’s the josh?’ moment to give you that adrenaline push, the show falls a few inches short on emotion and action.

Watch: Avrodh - The Siege Within trailer here

Based on Rahul Singh and Shiv Aroor’s book, India’s Most Fearless, Avrodh takes a deep and intricate look at the surgical strikes. Directed by Raj Acharya, the show has an impressive star cast with Amit Sadh, Neeraj Kabi, Darshan Kumaar and Arif Zakaria transforming into the pivotal characters even as Thappad actor Pavail Gulati and Bigg Boss 13 fame TV actor Madhurima Tuli make their presence felt.

It also feels refreshing to see a new set of faces stepping into the shoes of prominent figures from the Indian politics. Months after we saw Vivek Oberoi as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, veteran actor Vikram Gokhale puts up an impressive performance as he imbibes the leader’s gestures as well. Sadly, Praveena Deshpande’s Sunita Bharadwaj fails to come close to the late foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s persona and charm. Her stern appearance made me miss the ever-smiling and vivacious leader.

Neeraj Kabi in a still from  Avrodh The Siege Within.
Neeraj Kabi in a still from  Avrodh The Siege Within.

Pavail, straight off the success of Thappad, is delightful as a young soldier. Amit, whom we just saw delivering an impressive turn in Breathe Into The Shadows, returns in Avrodh as a no-nonsense officer. The Kai Po Che actor’s commitment to the role is evident as he beefs up to play a rough-and-tough special force officer who will let no one, not even his mother, divert his attention from his duty. Anant Mahadevan, who plays the defence secretary, appears to be the perfect associate to Neeraj Kabi, who finally takes a break from his recent grey characters to play the national security advisor, modelled on National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Madhurima plays a journalist who compromises national security in her search for the next scoop. She is brought to order by Neeraj’s character but not before he distastefully asks someone to “put a leash on her”.

Also read: Pavail Gulati on his Thappad co-star Taapsee Pannu: ‘She doesn’t have a crew or bodyguards on sets, focuses on her work’

Darshan Kumaar in a still from Avrodh - The Siege Within.
Darshan Kumaar in a still from Avrodh - The Siege Within.

Despite all the right ingredients, a star cast on top of its game, a gripping story and patriotism served right off the griddle, Avrodh fails to give you that adrenaline rush. That moment when you are one with the camera and the cast are missing from the show. Even a major loss failed to break my heart, my wait for that war cry that could have stayed with me after the credits roll never ended. The show has its moments though – the scene where the Indian army soldiers spend the entire night under the open sky waiting for their target till the sunset is one such instance. It also makes a significant effort in highlighting the ability of the satellite technology to target the enemy location with utmost precision.

More intricate than passionate, Avrodh gives you an insight into what went into the build-up to the surgical strikes. It is just the josh that we are missing.

Author tweets @ruchik87

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