Director Aditya Dhar says the intention of his directorial debut Uri: The Surgical Strike is not to show Pakistan in the bad light but to focus on the issue of terrorism.
The film is based on the 2016 Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan as a retaliation for the Uri attack that claimed the lives of 17 army personnel.
“The film is about how Indian Army fought terrorism. Our focus in the film is about how to fight against terrorism. There is nothing anti-Pakistan. We are not fighting against any individual or country, we are fighting against the cross-border terrorism that is happening. We have shown a balanced perspective,” Aditya told PTI.
Despite a ban on Indian films in the neighbouring country, the director says he would have loved to show his movie in Pakistan.
“Any sane or logical person be it Indian or Pakistani will understand that the film is about fighting terrorism.”
Aditya said his debut film “Raabta” was set to feature Pakistani actor Fawad Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead but Khan had to exit the project after Pakistani artistes were banned from working in India in the aftermath of the Uri attacks.
“I was figuring out how to recast for the film and who to approach. But within 10 days surgical strikes happened.”
The retaliation by the Indian side piqued his interest and Aditya said he started to research about the surgical strikes and its planning process.
He went through news articles, met journalists and retired army officers to research the project but a friend told him someone was already planning a film on the topic.
“I panicked and I started writing the screenplay and in 12 days the first draft was ready. It is a sensitive topic and we had to take permission from the Army. I shared my story with Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADDPI), PR division of army and they loved it.
“They told us 12 producers from Bollywood have approached them to make a film on surgical strikes but they did not have any story.”
The director said he was aware of the responsibility that lies on the makers to represent the Indian Army on screen in the most accurate way.
“We wanted to stay as true as possible. We did not exaggerate anything. We stayed real. After all, army men are normal people. Vicky Kaushal and other actors trained for about six months to understand their daily routine and mannerisms,” he added.
Aditya was convinced Vicky was the only actor who could pull off the role of Major Vihaan Shergill, the officer who leads the surgical strikes in the film.
“At that time he had started shooting for ‘Raazi’ and none of his films like ‘Sanju’, ‘Manmarziyaan’ or ‘Lust Stories’ had released. He has done an incredible job in the film.”
Also starring Paresh Rawal, Yami Gautam and Mohit Raina, the film is set to be released on January 11.