Aditya Dhar's debut movie as director, Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019), was a great success among audiences and at the box office. Starring Vicky Kaushal in the lead, Uri was based on India's retaliation to the attack in Uri, a small town in the then Jammu and Kashmir. Some, however, criticised the film for promoting a jingoistic sense of nationalism.
Defending Uri, Aditya Dhar said in a recent interview that there is a fine line between jingoism and patriotism. He maintained that he stayed close to the reality of the events of the surgical strike.
Talking about Uri, Aditya Dhar told IANS, "If a major section of the audience disliked the film or if they had disagreed with what has shown in the film, they would not have repeatedly come in the theatre to watch the film. We would have not made the money at the box office that we did if there wasn't any repeat audience. That means as a storyteller I managed to evoke the emotion and connection with the audience."
He added that no matter which film one makes, it cannot please everyone. A section of the society will criticise, and rightfully so, because we are living in a democracy, where everyone has a right to opine.
Dhar continued, "I understand when a section of people specify certain dialogues et cetera, but I just stayed close to reality without bringing down anything. When Army officers motivate their soldiers, they talk in a certain manner...those dialogues like 'Unhe Kashmir chahiye aur humhe unka sarr' were close to reality. That is how they talk. At times it is tough to draw the line between being patriotic and jingoistic. In fact, the audience draws the line. I, as a storyteller, stay close to reality."
Uri also starred Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal, Mohit Raina and Kirti Kulhari. The film won the National Film Award for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Audiography and Best Music Director.