'Farz aur farzi mein bas ek maatra ka antar hota hain,' as you watch Vicky Kaushal as Major Vihaan Singh Shergill quips these words to his senior, his steely determination leaves you in awe.
He's our new-age angry young man on a mission, who is best described in one of the scenes as, "Yeh naya Hindustan hai. Yeh ghar mein ghusega bhi, aur marega bhi." Aditya Dhar's Uri is based on the surgical strikes conducted by India against the militant launch pads in PoK.
To begin with, the film has been divided into chapters which ultimately culminates in the surgical strikes. Major Vihaan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) is a valiant army man who aces in strategic operations. However, when his mother's (Swaroop Sampat) Alzheimer's starts progressing rapidly, he bids goodbye to his border adventures and requests for a transfer to an army base in the Capital so that he can spend some time with her.
Unfortunately, during that period, Vihaan's brother-in-law Karan (Mohit Raina) who is also his fellow army-man gets killed in the Uri attack. This incident triggers Vihaan to join the surgical strike operation and go all guns blazing to avenge the loss of his slained fellow officers in the Uri attacks.
Debutant director Aditya Dhar needs to be patted on his back for his well-researched work before transferring his vision on the big screen. In reality, while India and Pakistan's version of this 'surgical strike' have always differed, the film-maker mixes fiction with the facts available in public domain to present a gripping narrative about this covert operation. Without resorting to forced patriotism, the emotions flow naturally in the film.
On the flip-side, the film-maker spends a little too much time in building up the drama to establish a personal connect with the characters in the first half of the film. This tends to slow down the pace of the narrative leaving you a bit dry as you eagerly wait for the action to begin.
Talking about the performances, Vicky Kaushal is in a terrific form as the man in uniform and proves yet again why he is one of the best from the current crop of Gen-X actors. Pull this man out of his comfort zone and he never fails to surprise you in a pleasant way! Watch out for the scene where his character is supposed to hold back his emotions at a funeral. The actor doesn't utter a single word and effectively lets his facial expressions do the talking.
Mohit Raina makes an impressive transition to the big screen and has a commendable screen presence.
Coming to the women power, Yami Gautam's character begins on an interesting note. However, Aditya Dhar fails to explore more sides to it. Same holds true for Kirti Kulhari who thankfully gets her own 'bravura' moment before the climax.
Paresh Rawal as the National Security Advisor falters at places due to the clumsy writing of his character. Rajit Kapur's role which seems to be loosely based on PM Modi might evoke a mixed response.
Mitesh Mirchandani's cinematography is neat and leaves you at the edge of your seats especially in the last 20 minutes of the film. Shivkumar V. Panicker's editing blends well with the story-telling. Stefan Richter's action sequences are top-notch and well-choreographed.
Uri's background score adds intensity especially when it comes to the action scenes. Right from the blast of grenades, the gun-firing to the clanking of the empty shell cases on the ground, the sound is a character in itself in the film.
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.