Vicky Kaushal starrer Uri: The Surgical Strike is all set to hit the big screen on January 11. As the audience gets ready to see Kaushal in a new avatar, the film’s director Aditya Dhar opened up on the movie, its narrative and its male lead in an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com.
Aditya Dhar has been at it for 12 years in the Hindi film industry. He has written songs (Kabul Express), scripts (Aakrosh, Boond) and has finally decided to plunge into filmmaking with Uri. But isn’t it a risky move to debut with such a sensitive subject? The director doesn’t think so.
“That risky move was actually for Ronnie, for me it was a no-brainer, because I was getting to do something that people don’t get a chance to do very often. Being a Kashmiri pandit, I have heard about terrorism since I was a kid and I always wanted to get into army. It is one of the most incredible stories. One of the best military operations that has happened here. So Uri was one story that had to be told,” Dhar said on the choice of subject.
In fact, Uri has been written and directed by Dhar, who feels that things work in harmony if one person is in charge of both the departments. “When I am writing it, I am already visualizing the whole thing. So when I am writing for someone else, I am picturing something else, and the other person has another image in his head and so there is a lot of back and forth which happens. This is definitely not the case when you are the one who has written and directed the movie. You are more sure of things, the clarity is on another level; less confusion, you don’t cross the budget,” said the filmmaker.
“Also, when you have written the script yourself, you are more emotionally attached. It’s your film. You give it that extra push which is important,” he added.
Incidentally, Aditya Dhar was supposed to make his debut as a director with a movie called Raat Baaki featuring Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan and Bollywood star Katrina Kaif. But the movie had to be shelved following the Uri attack and the consequent surgical strike.
“Raat Baaki was supposed to go on floor in October-November 2016. And just before it was to hit the floor, the Uri attack took place, as a result of which, Pakistani artistes were banned, and while we were thinking of what could be our next strategy in terms of casting, the surgical strikes happened. And suddenly, I was like, ‘How did we pull this off (the strike)?’” said Dhar.
Also read | Vicky Kaushal: We feel patriotism, army lives it
Seeing the trailer and a few lines uttered by its characters, one wonders if Uri will just be one more patriotic film from Bollywood, or will it seriously consider the aftermath of any war or battle and offer a balanced narrative which doesn’t pit one side against the other unnecessarily.
“When you watch the film, you will realize that both the Uri attack and the surgical strike that followed was about terrorists. It was never about Pakistan and its people. I am a filmmaker and I have no issues with anyone, I am a director and I am just here to tell a great story,” said the Uri director.
But then what about the language? Is it not problematic? “Ye naya Hindustan hai, ye ghar mein ghusega bhi aur marega bhi,” says Paresh Rawal’s character at one point in the trailer (This is a new India. We will enter their homes and we will not hesitate to kill them).
However, Dhar has a different take on the issue. The filmmaker said, “The only way to motivate soldiers is by pepping them up, talking to them and inspiring them. Now in that situation, in a battlefield, a commando will use that kind of language. It’s not us who is pulling the trigger, that army man is. And when he decides to do his job, he shouldn’t be in two minds about it.”
While war dramas usually have a packed audience lining for the ticket counter, come this Friday and we will possibly see more people than usual in theaters this weekend, all thanks to Uri’s lead actor’s talent.
Stating that Vicky was his first choice for the role, Aditya Dhar said, “Vicky had done only Masaan, Raman Raghav 2.0 and Zubaan when I reached out to him and thought he would fit the part wonderfully. I wanted a fantastic actor who was willing to dedicate himself to the character, prep for it for six-seven months and Vicky was the man.”