Film Review: A slanted silver screen offering on the Uri attack in Kashmir

The film dramatizes a 2016 military operation.(Image Supplied)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Film Review: A slanted silver screen offering on the Uri attack in Kashmir

  • In 2016, militants stormed an Indian army base in Kashmir killing 17 soldiers
  • “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” a film that focuses on the Indian strike that followed the attack

CHENNAI: In 2016, militants stormed an Indian army base in Kashmir killing 17 soldiers. Delhi blamed Pakistan for the attack and many Bollywood producers declared that they would no longer work with Pakistani actors which had the knock-on effect of forcing director Aditya Dhar to shelve his directorial debut which was set to star Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.

Fast forward to 2019 and Dhar has released “Uri: The Surgical Strike,” a film that focuses on the Indian strike that followed the attack — albeit in fictionalized form, where a personal revenge drama plays out within the more elaborate political arena.

The movie follows Indian Army Major Vihaan Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) as he is asked to lead a team of commandos deep into Pakistani territory. Elaborate planning goes into the strike, which is finally carried out after dark. Shergill, who had sought a desk job in order to take care of his ailing mother in Delhi, agrees to get into battle gear again after his brother-in-law is killed in the attack that triggered the strike. For Shergill, it is not just the honor of his country that is at stake, but also his own seething anger at having lost a close member of his family. This can be seen in all its naked starkness toward the end of the film, which attempts to weave together macro-level politics with one man’s deep-seated emotions.

Unfortunately, Dhar’s work appears a little lopsided. Pakistani officials were made to seem incompetent in the film — one character keeps burping and swallowing antacid, while another is loose lipped with vital information after he becomes intoxicated in what seem to be caricatures rather than characters.

What is most disconcerting, however, is that the film seems like a war cry — something most international filmmakers with a sense of moral responsibility try to avoid when telling war stories. To top it all off, Kaushal is not impressive and a compelling actress such as Yami Gautam (whose performance in “Vicky Donor” was superb) is wasted in an insignificant role. Of course, some of the action sequences shot in Serbia are breathtaking — a major plus point in the film.


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.