Uri director, Aditya Dhar, shares why being authentic in portraying the Indian Army was important to him
It's the first release from Bollywood this year. Uri, a film that chronicles the Indian Army’s 2016 surgical strikes that happened in 2016, is Aditya Dhar’s first film. Vicky Kaushal plays the protagonist — an army major who leads the strikes.
Shot extensively in Serbia, with some parts in Mumbai, Uri has been in the news even before its release, for various reasons, the most important being the subject of the film. Considering, he is debuting with a film on the Indian army, we ask if it was a challenging decision, and Aditya says, “It was. I am a first-time filmmaker and the budget a firsttimer gets is restricted. However, I didn’t want to compromise on scale. I had a fantastic team. We knew that we were representing the Indian Army and we wanted to do
complete justice to the film.”
As a team, the filmmaker and his unit came up with ingenious ways to shoot without compromising on the final output despite the budget. “We decided that every bomb blast, gun shot and essentially, every action sequence would be shot in one take. Everything had to be practised and choreographed so well that there would be no reason for us to repeat. The film has five big action sequences, and all of them have been shot in a single take, everything was so precise,” he adds.
In fact, to control the budget, the film’s unit brought props from their homes for the scenes shot in Mumbai. “We got utensils from our homes and a lot of other army officers sent their medals and trophies to be used as well. Everything is as authentic as it can get,” says Aditya.
Although the narrative is set in Uri, the film had to be shot in Serbia. Though the topography of this European country is similar to Kashmir, Aditya had a bigger reason to shoot all the action sequences in Serbia. “The kind of military gear that we needed for the film had to look authentic. But this kind of equipment is not available in India. We would have had to import all of it. The charges are so high and the processes involved are so tedious, it would have taken years for us to get it. Serbia worked for us in all these aspects,” reveals the director.
They could shoot within their budget and the landscape is similar to Kashmir. Now that the film is ready, we ask if Aditya is nervous about how it will be received. “I am happy, content and satisfied. I am not nervous because you feel nervous only when you think you could have done better. I know my actors, and my crew have pushed themselves done their best. I don’t think we could have gotten any better. Now it’s up to the audience and destiny,” he signs off.