In the National Award-winning Uri: The Surgical Strike, we saw the historic surgical strikes through the eyes of Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal), who not only does his duty but also avenges his family’s tragedy when he goes on the anti-terror mission. The film was a celebration of the valour and ‘josh’ of the Indian Army, and a ‘new India’.
Cut to director Raj Acharya’s SonyLIV web series Avrodh: The Siege Within. It is a retelling, sans any jingoistic and provocative dialogues or scenes, of how the government and armed forces worked tirelessly to avenge the killing of 19 soldiers at an Army base camp in Uri. Instead of being high on emotions, Avrodh focuses on the planning that went into the Indian government’s decision to retaliate with surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads across Line of Control (LoC).
Writers Harmanjeet Singha, Sudeep Nigam, Abhishek Chatterjee and Aadhar Khurana have constructed the nine-episode series like a rollercoaster ride with thrills and scares. Before getting to see the on-ground action, we get to witness the closed-door meetings between the Prime Minister and other leaders. The intelligence gathering and strategising create enough intrigue.
Through the sequences involving the character of Abu Hafiz, played by Anil George, the makers also show how terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed operate and convince young schoolboys to join them in the name of religion. The only drawback here is the hardcore Kashmiri spoken by Hafiz. At times, it gets difficult to comprehend what he is saying, and you wish there were subtitles.
However, if you expect to experience the moments of adrenaline rush that you had while watching Vicky Kaushal’s military drama, you won’t find them here. What plagues Avrodh is its slow-pace. That heart-pounding action comes only towards the end. Though we know that the Army’s strike on terrorist launch pads was successful and the soldiers got out safe and sound, the staging of it is filled with twists and turns.
Amit Sadh does justice to his role of a no-nonsense special task officer, Major Videep Singh. Darshan Kumaar and Pavail Gulati fit their part of soldiers. Vikram Gokhale doesn’t come across as caricaturish in his portrayal of PM Modi. Neeraj Kabi, as usual, aces his role of the National Security Advisor. But Madhurima Tuli’s character of journalist Namrata Joshi is half-baked and adds nothing significant to the story.
Overall, Avrodh is an interesting watch which is not marred by patriotic fervour.
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