The recently released Sony Liv’s web-series “Avrodh: The Siege Within” replays the unfortunate terror attack in Uri and the events that lead to one of its kind Surgical Strikes by Indian Armed forces in Sept 2016. We have already witnessed the gallantry of the special forces in the Bollywood movie “Uri: The Surgical Strike“, so an obvious question that might come to mind, very well be: what’s different?
Quite interestingly other than a few names everything!
The movie being a Bollywood movie had a very high glamour quotient; even in death. It revolved around the life of a flamboyant Major played by Vicky Kaushal; his personal life, his sick mother, his barbecue humor, his family, his heroics, his close combat scenes, etc. etc. The web-series, on the other hand is low on glamour; does not exaggerate and is devoid of Jingoism. There aren’t catchy slogans like “How’s the Josh?“
In fact, the web-series isn’t about the one Major who lead the attack, its actually about the strike and the events that lead to it, Major was a part of a big picture like others who fought alongside him, the snipers, the national security advisor so on and so forth. The series is objective in nature and does not squander much time in melodrama or masala. The web-series showcases a very professional army. Unlike the movies, revenge had little place in the operation, which I believe is more appropriate representation of a professional army like ours.
Having said this, the web-series will keep you glued till the very end. It pours in important details about the terror attack, the strike and fills in several gaps left wide open in the movie. For example, how did the four terrorists who attacked the camp know about the inside of the camp? Or why were the soldiers in tents in the first place? The series provides answers for many such questions.
Apart from these details, the web-series sheds light on how different departments behaved during the crisis, giving more depth to the different characters. The side effects of unethical journalism during national crises like these were completely overlooked in the movie, but are appropriately shown this time. To get closer to the reality, some of the statements/phrases have been taken from the real world speeches of both the PM as well as the then Foreign Minister, a deja-vu moment!
Although, the physical appearance of the characters i.e. the attire, the hair style, the glasses, etc resemble to the real life person who the actors are representing in the series, the actors did not or could not copy the idiosyncrasies of these people. Having said that, I was still not able to figure out, who is the character of “Namrata Joshi, the fierce journalist” played by Madhurima Tuli based on. If you figure that out, please do mention in the comment.
However, the biggest difference between the movie and the series is that the strategy, the plan and the way strikes were conducted were entirely different. It was as if they narrated stories of two different events.
If both, the series as well as the movie, are based on a true story depicting the same event, I believe certain premises should have remained the same. For instance, the way the terrorists who attacked the army camp died. Did they die in the camp fighting the armed forces or did they die running away from the armed forces in a different way at a different place? That was not an isolated instance. There were more. The duration for which the special forces stayed behind the enemy lines was also different, shouldn’t it be the same as well? Or the usage of choppers during the strike, and so on and so forth. I don’t want to spoil the series for you so won’t give the details here. But you get my point.
So what are we watching here in the series or what did watch in the movie a year ago? A pure fiction that uses Uri and Surgical Strikes for publicity or a dramatization/picturization of the actual events that occurred during that month? I guess only a privileged few, who actually were a part of those events would know that.
From a laymen’s perspective, the series looks more real and closer to the truth than the movie for obvious reasons.
As far as the movie is concerned, there were a lot of loopholes or mistakes which right away indicated the excessive use of imagination in the movie and that to child like imagination. For example, the whole “Garud” drone chapter is a work of fiction. Can you imagine Indian army relying on a 16 year old civilian and the product designed by him which by the way has never been tested, in an extremely sensitive, first of its kind, covert operations? Just for the information, a company based in Netherlands (RoBird) claimed to have designed that drone and not an intern in DRDO.
The movie had myriad of these childish imaginations. One more to add in this list was when a trained army officer (played by Mohit Raina) picked up the enemy’s booby trapped rifle and blew himself up. Trained soldiers never pick up enemy weapons for some reasons. Maybe somebody thought of CounterStrike or PubG as real.
On the similar lines was the usage of chopper during the mission. Remember the scene towards the end when Seerat flies in and fends off the Pakistani Chopper? Just 30 minutes ago in the move the same chopper had to turn around because a radar was active in that region; wasn’t that the whole point why the soldiers had to use the Caves and Garuds in the first place?
Fortunately these lapses don’t exist in the web-series which makes it more coherent and an interesting watch.
Thank you for reading. Happy binge watch!