Uri: The Surgical Strike

wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)

quick review:

Slick war action could make it worth a watch. But be warned, the forced and never-ending emotional drama is a bit much and the propaganda is inescapable.

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Director: Aditya Dhar
Running time: 135 minutes
More Movie Info

What about a story of one country’s surgical strike as revenge against a terrorist attack might have needed personal vengeance for an adrenaline boost? That the end is known all too well. Looks like the makers were confident that they would need additional masala because they knew they wouldn’t be able to create interest through the basic story of the strikes. That makes patriotism a bystander in this story of one person’s bravery, his personal vendetta and actually some guilt. That converts the entire real-life operation into a one-man mission even though there are hundreds of people which make it happen. That’s not too bad, is it? Reel-life hero is better than real-life, one-man political hero. But hey, you get that too! Two for the price of one. Yep, an overall generic super-hero film with not-so-subtle propaganda as agenda.

a reminder to the audience that India has competent military acumen, intelligence, equipment, and execution power.

Even so, you could watch the film just for the execution of the slick action sequences. Both the camerawork, especially in the low-lit scenes and the editing make for an engaging viewing time. The quieter times though, the scenes that are not in the war zone are rather drab. While the camera and the editing can’t be blamed for the slack, the writing is lacklustre and drawn out.

The lines aren’t great in these scenes or the scenes during war time. It is a tall ask from even the best of actors to instill vigor into a one-word, answer “high” when the question is visibly forced, “how’s the josh?” You then have other details filled in by some toilet humor, caricaturisation of most Pakistani officers, and so on.

Sure, there are some redeeming attributes to the writing. While the emotional rope is tugged hard as an inescapable part of action films, there are subtler moments in the war scenes that recognise that a soldier needs to understand human nature to do his work better. And these couple of moments work much better than the in-the-face and long-drawn cries that are made so to appeal to our conscience and emotions, and to actually over-explain the brewing anger. That the writing doesn’t spell every single thing out works well for the film too. It is refreshing to see characters who have known each other for long but are only just introduced to the audience, talk to each other the way they would in normal life and not to introduce their characteristics and relationships to the audience.

However, all of this could have fallen as flat as the rest of the film if it were not for Vicky Kaushal’s very capable shoulders that carry the film’s many flaws. While Kirti Kulhari, Manasi Parekh and Yami Gautam’s quiet strength give the lead ample support, Swaroop Sampat and Rakesh Bedi’s presence add warmth also because the combination reminds you of the Yeh Jo Zindagi Hai days.

Of course, that might not be intentional. What is intentional though is a reminder to the audience that India has competent military acumen, intelligence, equipment, and execution power. That Indians ought to take pride in the wars we win. Is it coincidental that almost all Hindi war films are hardly ever about futility of war but almost always about nationalism? And that is why the film comes across more as a propoganda film than an outright film based on real-life politics, The Accidental Prime Minister, this week’s other release.

- meeta, a part of the audience

33 reviewers(?) - 14 yays 18 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Uri is a work of many achievements. But to me, a film about national pride without a single shot of the Indian flag is the biggest miracle since the invention of the motionpicture camera. This is a glorious beginning to 2019. And if patriotism is the flavour of the year, bring it on, provided it’s not about Paki-bashing. Just getting even.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE has a thrilling and a gripping narrative which instills patriotism without getting jingoistic. At the box office, the film will mainly appeal to the multiplex audience.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dishya Sharma, Bollywood Life : ...If you loved watching movies like Border and L.O.C: Kargil, Uri: The Surgical Attack is a film for you. It will make you laugh and cry, and you'll walk out of the theatre feeling proud of the soldiers, both on and off the screen.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...The film may be populist and pushing the aggressive agenda of the ruling party, but at a time when terrorism aided by the powers that be hangs over our heads, it serves to reassure people that there is no challenge the Indian Army cannot handle, given a decisive leadership. It is a worthy tribute to the armed forces. The claim of a New India that it pushes forward is debatable.... full review

Thumbs up, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, FirstPost : ...What Dhar squanders on the screenplay, he makes up for in the details. Stefan Richter’s carefully designed and executed action scenes, Sashwat Sachdev’s thunderous background score, sound mix, sound design and special effects simulate authenticity. As far as war dramas go, Uri: The Surgical Strike is a confidently made film that comes out guns blazing. And when the guns are not blazing, Kaushal certainly is.... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Flimi Beat : ...Every time, Vicky Kaushal's Vihaan screams, 'How's the Josh?' to his battalion of soldiers, you feel the adrenaline rush as you hear, 'Very high, Sir.' Keeping all the debatable aspects aside, Uri manages to make your heart swell with pride for the armed forces who are always ready to sacrifice their lives for the nation. I am going with 3 and a half stars. Read more at: https://www.filmibeat.com/bollywood/reviews/2019/uri-the-surgical-strike-movie-review-and-rating-vicky-kaushal-yami-gautam-mohit-raina-281286.html... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...If you love your country and respect the Indian Army then URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE should be your first choice this Friday. What a way to ring in the new year with a salute to Mother India, like we stand up for the national anthem in theatres before any movie begins. URI: THE SURGICAL STRIKE starring Vicky Kaushal begins Bollywood 2019 with a grand salute. And the whole of 2019 abhi baki hai mere dost.... full review

Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...The film is a blatant homage to the bravery displayed by the Indian army and it makes no attempts to hide its allegiance. The opponents in this film are skimmed through swiftly and remain faceless villains. It isn’t a lost battle though. There’s something hugely inspirational about watching a band of brave soldiers take down the bad guys. Give this film a sure shot.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...Do visit “URI” for the story it tells. If you are Indian enough, you will oversee or dismiss the flaws. After all, you will be watching a “new Hindustan” speaking the language of its enemies, and so gratifying your emotions when India reciprocates the repeated insults.... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Uri: The Surgical Strike is a story of courage told with utmost honesty. Vicky Kaushal’s disciplined performance and the way of balancing tensions, thrills make this a movie you don’t want to miss.... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...Uri Movie Still[/caption] Watch this film for Vicky Kaushal’s performance and to appreciate the Indian Army.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...The soldiers give up their today for our tomorrow and no words can signify or repay the sacrifices they make for our country. Uri puts a spotlight on the thankless job they do with passion in their hearts and fire in their bellies. The film is a fitting tribute to the Indian Army conceptually but cinematically, it’s not a film without flaws.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...What works for ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ is that it remains focused on the plot. There are no unnecessary diversions like a romantic track or songs that don’t go with the narrative. The taut script and the sleek action keep you engaged. This war film is definitely worth a watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankita Chakravarti, ZEENEWS.COM : ...The edge-of-the-seat suspense will keep the audience hooked till the very end and the power-packed performances make for a good watch.... full review

So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...Kaushal is a very fine actor with a dazzling range. Here, cast as protector, defender, destroyer, he is precise, sharp, exceptional, and makes it all look easy. Kaushal carries the film almost single-handedly, raising the tempo and temperature, making us cry and, sometimes, smile.... full review

So-So, by Harshada Rege, DNA : ...Watch it for Vicky’s honest performance and to get a closer look at what happened on the night of the surgical strike.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...The film is divided into chapters. As we move toward the climax, the action cuts between key locations like the operations room, interrogation center, meeting rooms in Pakistan. We also get a countdown. All of which is designed to create a sense of urgency but by this time, the narrative has lost its grip. I think a shorter running time would have served the story better.... full review

So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...One can’t believe that the actual surgical strikes had such shoddy execution. Director Aditya Dhar should have watched films like Zero Dark Thirty or 7 Days In Entebbe to get a clear idea about how to make movies with surprise attack as the focus. The masses of course are unaware of the technicalities and he must be counting on the fact that ignorance is bliss. The patriotic fervour behind the project can’t be denied and better detailing definitely would have added another layer to the film.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Eventually it’s the performances that makes this film watchable. Vicky Kaushal’s sincere efforts to live the role shows. URI doesn’t bother to ask tough questions or try to dig deeper than what the establishment tosses out. Its conciliatory tone is rather unforgivable but it’s entertainment value is not. What you see may not be entirely kosher but it’s got the Josh!... full review

So-So, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...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.... full review

So-So, by Lakshana N Palat, india today : ...Vicky Kaushal, who had a golden year in 2018, starts 2019 with a bang. There are no complaints about his acting, though at points you want to see more of Vicky's acting than his action. Vicky does his best and works hard to push the film forward. Kirti Kulhari, who made quite an impact with the film Pink, is sadly wasted here as the pilot of Vicky's helicopter, who is just eager to prove, in her own words, her "desh-bhakti". Yami Gautam gives a fair performance but recedes into the background quite often.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Uri on the whole keeps you engaged despite some clunky passages. It’s always good to have movies in which the soldiers look real, even if the action is buoyed by such dialogues as ‘unhe Kashmir chaihye, humein unka sar’.... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Very little—next to nothing—is known about these 'surgical strikes'. How does this revenge operation pan out in the picture, then? Given multiple Abbottabads being mounted, a lot like a desi Zero Dark Thirty (2012)—Katherine Bigelow's brilliant docu-drama detailing capture of Osama bin Laden. As compliments go, that's as huge as it gets. No?... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Director Aditya Dhar is tuned in to the action scenes and ma Read more at: https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/entertainment/movie-review/uri-the-surgical-strike-movie-review-watching-vicky-kaushal-yami-gautam-kirti-kulhari-starrer-uri-is-like-playing-a-first-person-shooter-on-cheat-mode-and-full-ammo/articleshow/67445403.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...In fact, sketchy writing is a problem that plagues the film as a whole. But for the presence of Vicky Kaushal, whose character desists from overt chest-thumping, Uri: The Surgical Strike would have been a complete washout. It gets two stars - one for its technical sheen, the other for the male lead. The rest of the film fires too many blanks to count for anything.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Ultimately there’s a lot to admire here, but because it can’t shake off its unmistakably filmi sensibility – which is inherently at odds with the no-nonsense tone it aspires for – it proves thrilling only in parts. The film is too long at nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes and as a result it runs but never flies.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Vats, News18.com : ...Uri The Surgical Strike has many exciting moments. Don’t be surprised if you hear whistles all around when Indian paratroopers blast terrorist camps inside Pakistan.... full review

So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...Four Pakistani terrorists infiltrated an Indian Army base and killed sleeping soldier in their barracks in Uri. India replied with Zero Dark Thirty style over the border attack called 'Surgical Strikes'. It's shot well, and despite being a patriotic revenge drama it remains soulless.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Despite slick visuals and solid acting, Uri fails to make this distinction.... full review

So-So, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...Rawal is the only real sore thumb with his rather loud dialogue delivery and over-stated performance. In many ways, he is symbolic of what is wrong in the film - “Uri: The Surgical Strike” gets the fight right but overdoes the jingoism.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Another unlikely hero pops up to steal some more of the Army’s thunder. A DRDO intern plays an important role in the operation, causing Govind to exult, “You might just have won us the war, son!” And a general election too? This surgical strike on the conscientious objector has an answer to that question too.... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Even if you are on the other side of the political and ideological divide Dhar makes things palateable, though he may not be entirely persuasive. At times I found myself standing clear of my own political biases to acknowledge his engaging craft. At other moments, I broke away from the film’s emotional sway to question its politics.... full review

Thumbs down, by Firdaus, Rediff : ...Vicky Kaushal and his co-actors make for great viewing, but one wonders why actors playing Home Minister Rajnath Singh and then defence minister Manohar Parrikar spoil the thrills by propagating the BJP line.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 3 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Fan

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Gaurang : Must see for all those who love and respect the nation. Excellent photography and action sequence.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Mandar

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of gunfights and fistfights, some gory too. One torture scene.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: War and revenge
  • General Look and Feel: Slick war drama for most parts

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:
Lyrics:

Comments (12)

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Gaurang

It’s very obvious that the reviewer has leftst leanings. That is why she looks at this excellent film as a pe
propaganda. Her sympathy for Pakistan is evident when she bemoans ‘caricaturing’ of the Pakistani officers. Only grace is she didn’t question whether the surgical strike really happened or not.

Mandar

I've always loved reading your reviews because they seem very similar to what I too look for in a movie. But in this case it differs a lot. And I am okay with it. Its just that I didn't quite feel there was any political propaganda in movie because I have seen it twice and don't see even the mention of any political party. I understand the idea of futility of a war but I don't think the idea of futility is justified when 19 soldiers are murdered in their sleep in Uri.
Coming to the movie, it sure isn't a masterpiece. There are lot of shortcomings but still it is a movie worth watching for its sentiment.
However, I respect your opinions on it. These are just a few things I felt like mentioning about the review.
Cheers :)

@Mandar Thanks for your comment. Like movies, we have our opinions on real-life issues too. And of course, they can differ too :)

Fan

Better late than never - I did watch this on the big screen. And boy am I glad to have watched it on big screen - it is a sheer treat. With the night based scenes (as the real strikes were done during the night) watching it on TV even with original print DVD/BlueRay/streaming would not have given the exact effect as on the big screen.

War movies produced by Bollywood had a standard template established by Chetan Anand via films like Haqeeqat and Hindustan Ki Kasam. This template, due to its sucess, being also used in other successful war films like Lalkar and then later on by J P Dutta in Border and similar films.

The refreshing part of Uri: the surgical strikes is that it moves from this tried tested template. No more are the soldiers carrying photos of their wives or beloveds. No more are they singing patriotic songs and reminiscing of mustard fields in Punjab. They are your typical next door neighbour friend leading a perfect civilian life now. And next moment when duty calls they are ready to focus 100% on duty.

The look and feel of the film is similar to any Hollywood war films of recent times (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker, ...) That is another thing that sets apart the film.

As expected from the trailer, this is a fictionalized dramatized recount of the Uri strikes done by the Indian armed forces on the Pakistan harbored terrorists. The film succeeds in highlighting how Pakistan is waging a dirty proxy war, how terrorists target our brave soldiers, how meticulous are the Indian intelligence community in capturing information showing Pakistan complicity in such affairs, how complex and important it is to plan such an operation, the amount of teams involved and the coordination involved, and above all the dangers that our brave soldiers accept. Full marks to the producers on each of these points.

The film stays away from any love angles distracting the story of the film. As part of showing that the soldiers are also a normal part of the society like you and me, yes there is a small peep into their personal lives. But this is more to show the civilian side of their lives and nothing to develop a love angle.

Absolute top marks to the producers for making it an apolitical work. There is no reference to any political organization or institutes. There is no reference to any political figure. There is zero jingoism despite the ample opportunities. I could have been mistaken but I did not find even once the words "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" or "Vande Mataram". Absolute restraint from the film makers to stray away from anything that is the story of the film.

A film based on real life event kind of takes away the surprise element of how is it going to end? We all know what the end is even before we enter the hall. And so it is very important to ensure that the story build up has enough grip and enough suspense to keep you engaged and on the edge of the seat. Uri succeeds entirely. Of course the strikes are the highlights of the film, yet for me the winner is the final scene of the film. Just watching it and getting the goosebumps my chest filled up with so much pride that I could feel during the scene that it has expanded several inches.

I heartfully recommend this film to everyone. You will not be disappointed. And do watch it on big screen.

Fan

@Meeta writes: be warned, the forced and never-ending emotional drama is a bit much and the propaganda is inescapable

????????????? W H A T ??????

Do you care to elaborate based on what objective criteria did you reach the conclusion that is a propaganda film? And propaganda for what or for whom?

And sorry Meeta, as a professional journalist/blogger you cannot hide behind "this is my personal view". If you are labelling something as propaganda in your professional capacity then you need to show integrity to explain what propaganda did you find?

And the same Meeta defended the serial womaniser and poster boy of leftist liberals the maker of Sanju and the issuer of a good guy character certificate by stating that when I watch a film I disconnect it from the person and see the story!!!! Seriously??? Where did this disconnect disappear in Uri?

As I mentioned in my note above, there are ZERO references to any political party, there are ZERO references to any personality (political or others), there are ZERO utterances of vande mataram, there are ZERO utterances of bharat mata ki jai, there are no patriotic songs. Nothing.

Please show journalistic integrity and explain what in the film made you say that it is a propaganda film? Looking forward to hearing your explanation.

#HowsTheJosh?

@Fan The timing of the film itself is propaganda for me.

I am not a journalist. Not trained to be one, never aimed to be one, never claimed to be one. This site was and will always be just my/the writer's opinion on a film, and they will always reflect the writer's view of the world.

I do not like war and films on war that glamourise it or make it out to be the right thing to do. At the same time, I also realise that I don't 'get' that war is necessary at times. Given this background, I did try to keep my bias against war aside; else there is no way or reason to watch the film, which is why I didn't dislike the film despite polar opposite views about the subject matter. The action scenes were done well.

I didn't understand what you are saying about my opinion on Sanju. I did not strip the movie of Sanjay Dutt; I just said that if it were not about him, the film would have been about a loser I did not care about and because it is about him, my opinion of him as a person has gone from neutral to dislike. Yet, I thought it was a reasonably made film because it engaged me while I was in the theatre.

Fan

The reason I used the example of Sanju is to show to you what is a PROPAGANDA.

The intention of Sanju is to give a character certificate to a criminal convicted at each level of justice available in the country. That was PROPAGANDA. But not for you. Your defense against the charge of propaganda for Sanju was that I do not watch it linked to real life events, I watch it as a film. Fair enough. But then where did that detachment disappear whilst watching Uri? I hope you see the connect with Sanju?

Fan

Coming to your argument of "timing" to explain that it is a propaganda. Films (not only Hindi but nationwide and worldwide) have always been timed to prevailing moods and times. ALWAYS. So it makes every film a propaganda. I can find multiple examples from the times of previous governments, but let me stick to recent times. Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Halka some examples. For Halka I even teased you that your are liking the film but not the person, the Honorable Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi, whose thoughts and active work on this front have inspired people to make such movies. You do not find them propaganda. Films like Raazi, Satyamev Jayate, I can go on and on.

So what is so special about the timing of Uri to make it a propaganda?

Fan

Coming to your classic defense argument that you use to shield yourself when you defend poster boys of liberal lefts and when you destroy all others - this is my "opinion".

I liked the film or I did not like the film can wash as opinion. I like liberal left films made by Raju and I do not like right of centre films made by Neeraj Pandey can wash as opinion. I like romantic films but I don't like war films can wash as opinion.

All the above can be disguised and paraded as opinion.

But what cannot be paraded is the judgement that film is propaganda. It is not an opinion - it is a judgement of the film based on certain tangible objective observations. The film did not even have the highly anticipated chanting of the national anthem with the tricolor flying. You have mentioned timing as the only reason so far for calling it propaganda. Have you other reasons to label it as propaganda, or that is the only reason?

Fan

That you have liberal left leanings is your worry. As a well wisher, I can only wish you a rapid recovery.

That your ideological leanings drive you to destroy a good film like Uri with labelling of propaganda is a sin and a crime. Sin because you know very well that it is a blatant and well timed lie. Crime because such words rob the people who made the film from wider recognition.

You are influencing the choices that the loyal followers of your blog make. You are unconciously pulling them away from the film by usage of unjustified tags and are responsible for unrecognition of the work done by the hundreds of people who colletively made the film. Just one rash ideological word PROPAGANDA.

#HowsTheJosh

Fan

other than timing if you have other criteria to declare it as propaganda then do let me know, as it is possible that I missed observing something that your keen eyes and notepad recorded.

@Fan About Sanju: I agree with you. And say so too. "Rajkumar Hirani=Jai; Sanjay Dutt=Veeru; audience=mausiji" means it is pushing an agenda. I don't use the P-word, so what? I still didn't mind the film and think it is worth a watch to see how messed up a life can be, a real life, a life with lots of privileges. So, I don't see how you can say I keep the person separate from the film. In fact, I failed on that count. In fact, Anyway, it is a tall ask in films based on true-life stories.

So, even though it was pushing an agenda, I liked the film. Just like I don't like horror films, but might like a well-made one because it is well made or I don't like sex comedies but might like one odd one.

I liked Uri for the action sequences. I didn't like its emotional drama. I didn't like that it calls for war and think its timing of being just a few months before elections is as much a call for votes (by supporters of the political party) as it is a call for footfalls in the theatres.

It is my opinion. And I expressed it. I am not delusional; I don't want my readers to follow me blindly. I believe they have their own mind and opinion and that they know very well how different or similar it is from mine. And even when it is almost always similar, I feel the reader should know that they might have a different opinion based on what they read. I do my best to point out the bias I might carry without sounding like I am not sure of my opinion.

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