Note: This piece is a pure criticism of the show and its content. In no way does it aim to disrespect or talk ill about the Indian Army. My love and respect for our protectors is intact and in abundance.
Sony Liv’s Avrodh: The Siege Within begins with a disclaimer that the story is fictionalised and creative liberties are taken. But does that take away the fact that it is a rehash of the 2019 film Uri: The Surgical Strike? Judging just by the ‘fictional’ content, the show did pump up my adrenaline in a few parts, but was a half baked job otherwise.
Cast: Amit Sadh, Neeraj Kabi, Darshan Kumaar, Vikram Gokhale, Anant Mahadevan, Madhurima Tuli, Anil George, Arif Zakaria, Pavail Gulati and ensemble:
Avrodh: The Siege Within Review: What’s It About?:
Set in 2016, Avrodh is an adaptation of a chapter named ‘We Don’t Really Know Fear’ from the book ‘India’s Most Fearless’ by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh. Inspired by the 2016 surgical strike of Uri, the show follows the Indian Army prepping for a strike as an answer to a terrorist attack that is called the most brutal attack every done on the army. Now, I haven’t read the book, so my opinion is solely about the virtual content.
Avrodh: The Siege Within Review: What’s Good:
Judging Avrodh as a ‘fictionalised’ content (this is me reminding myself every time I write that word), what Avrodh rides high on is the number of amazing actors it has. Amit Sadh, Darshan Kumaar, Neeraj Kabi, and Vikram Gokhale.
These actors dig their teeth deep in to the material that is provided to them. And trust me the material is not worthy of the talent that every single aforementioned individual carries with them. Amit Sadh (though glamorised for his chiselled body) jumps into his part with all the ‘Josh’. Darshan Kumaar (who has a PHD of being in films that have our PM’s look-alike) brings his honest performance to the table.
Vikram Gokhale plays ‘The Prime Minister Of India’, no points guessing who has inspired this character. But to be very honest out of all the people who have played or well, replicated Narendra Modi, Gokhale has impressed me the most. He doesn’t stay in the constraints of the persona of the real-life man; he adds bits of his improvisation. Though I am still not in support of the character arch, Gokhale’s performance deserves credit.
Neeraj Kabi is well Neeraj Kabi. The man can make anything shine.
Special mention to a scene when while entering the strike, Darshan wraps his late friend’s medal to his gun and kisses it. It was only during the attack that I felt a bit pumped.
Avrodh: The Siege Within Review: What’s Bad?:
My first question, why the show? Vicky Kaushal’s Uri: The Surgical Strike (also not factually correct) was a well-made vehicle. The technical department was par excellence. In this case, if you bring me a rehash of almost the same story, that too half baked, disappointment goes a notch higher.
Written by Harmanjeet Singha, Sudeep Nigam, Abhishek Chaterjee, and Aadhar Khurana, Avrodh has almost nothing new to offer. Just bits and pieces that differ, everything else is the story we have seen. Being teamwork, it doesn’t look like one. The storytelling stays very much on the same layer.
Direction by Raj Acharya isn’t impressive enough. For a man who has worked on some of the best films, including Talaash, this was a letdown.
That brings me to the idea. Hear me out before you criticise my opinion. While the show is said fictional, it gives you lookalikes of various people involved with the Uri surgical strike. For, e.g.: PM Modi, Late Sushma Swaraj, former Defence Minister Late Manohar Parrikar and so on.
Now, if these characters are point to point replication, including their hairstyles, why is there a fear to give them their real names? Okay, I understand that’s because of the term ‘fictional’. But, why is the Prime Minister Of Pakistan named Nawaz Sharif, which is the real name of former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif? Liberties!
Cinematography by Shanu Singh Rajput is as good as the makers let it be. Also, when you have seen the best job, the basic makes no impact.
A parallel plot that includes Madhurima Tuli as a journalist trying to crack this Army operation doesn’t add much to the experience. But the point where she is played by the people in power, is an unplanned metaphor to the situation of media right now.
Avrodh: The Siege Within Review: Last Words:
Avrodh is a job half done. The actors may be the best, but the set up isn’t. If you still plan to watch it, go in with one thing in mind that all this is ‘fictional’, and not factual. If it is a propaganda vehicle or not, decide for yourself. You can pass this one.
Avrodh: The Siege Within Review: Star Rating: 2 Stars (Two Stars)