29th July 2020

Avrodh A Striking Revisit To Uri Surgical Strike

Avrodh: The  Siege Within (SonyLiv, 9 Episodes)

Starring : Amit Sadh, Neeraj Kabi, Vikram Gokhale, Darshan Kumar, Madhurima Tuli, Anant Mahadevan, Pavail Gulati, Mohit Chauhan, Arif Zakaria

Directed  by Raj Acharya

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Straightaway I must  say Vikram Gokhale makes  a much better  PM Modi than Viveik Oberoi.A veteran  if ever there was one, Gokhale  brings  a certain gravitas  to  the wonderfully  low-key character , a grace that goes beyond the well trimmed beard and the  designer  jackets.

Gokhale’s  PM Modi is in a deep turmoil. Should he  or shouldn’t he  strike back at  Pakistan after the  attack on the  Uri camp base? The  series, extending the  national-security narrative that was so effectively  projected  in Aditya Dhar’s feature film Uri two years ago, puts  a tight leash on the  proceedings  from the  dastardly attack to the plotting planning and  execution of  counter-attack, better know as  the  surgical attack.

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Though  director Raj Acharya has  9 leisurely  episodes at his  disposal, the pace of narration is  never allowed to slacken.The  proceedings remain perennially perky. Writers  Harmanjit Singha, Sudeep Nigam, Abhishek Chaterjee and Aadhar Khurana  pool their alert agile minds together  to give the  well-researched real-life saga  a swift-moving spin.

 There is  never  a  dull moment in Avrodh as some of our finest  actors(now web stars) weave  a web of  political intrigue  and  cabinet conflicts . The  dialogues are located in that semi-conversational  domain where  government officials  throw officialese  at  one another without sounding excessively technical.

 The  conflict is manifold,as the PM and his closely-knit team,the  actors in the original war strike come alive through actors who seem to seize  the urgency  of  the times  with ease fluency and articulate  interpretations of recent history  into gripping drama. Specially  well-written are   poolside/bar room conversations between  the PM’s National Security Adviser and  Secretary Of Defence played by  those  redoubtable actors Neeraj Kabi and Ananat Mahadevan, respectively who  let their dialogues say as much their silences.

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 There is  an interesting  sub-plot  about an over-reaching  on-the-ground-level  investigative  journalist played by Madhurumi  Tuli who  crosses the line(in more ways than one) in her  bid to stay ahead  of the  news and then  redeems her  reputation just in time.It is  an  interesting look at  the  uneasy relationship symbiotic  relationship you –scratch-my-back-I-will-watch-yours between media and politics.Ms Tuli plays the only prominent  female  character. She  could have  done better.

It is Amit Sadh, who strides into  the striking strife in the third episode as  the  leader of the soldiers  handpicked  for the retaliatory  strike.His arrival pumps up the  adrenaline and  furnishes the  goings-on with  a sense  of  committed  heroism. Major  Videep Singh  is as  committed to the mission as Sadh is  to the character. I only wish his team  had better face value. Except Darshan Kumar who is  his usual natural  self, the  others in Sadh’s team  are just a  blur.

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Armed with ample  nationalist fervor and exuding a  sense  of imminent righteousness, Avrodh  will have  you  by your jowls until the last blast. This is flag-waving at its most fervent.

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