‘Keep it real’

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‘Keep it real’

Saturday, 12 January 2019 | Ayushi Sharma

‘Keep it real’

Actor Yami Gautam tells Ayushi Sharma that she was her own self while playing the character of an intelligence officer

For decades, India-Pakistan relation has followed a set pattern of diplomacy. After every major terror strike, both the countries start the blame game. Almost two years ago the moment of reckoning arrived when special commandos of Indian Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) to hit targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Surgical strikes require not just detailed and exhaustive planning but need to be carried out with absolute precision to achieve the objective of taking down targets. The film Uri: The Surgical Strike starring Yami Gautam as an intelligence officer depicts the Uri attack that had led to widespread anger against terror.

The film follows the one carried by the Indian army against Pakistan after the latter attacked the Indian Army camp at Uri.

The surgical strike stunned Pakistan and before it could even understand what happened in its own backyard, the Indian Army’s special commandos had come back to their side of the LoC.

So when asked Yami, How did she manage to get in the character of the skin  as this the first time she portrays something like this on screen, she says, “I asked Aditya (Dhar), what should I do to get completely into the role? Should I watch something? He said, you just have to be real Yami, you have to find the character within you. So it’s better if you rely on your own instincts. Intelligence officers are absolutely real and unpretentious. You won’t even get a single hint if an intelligence officer is sitting next you, they are that real. Their identities are classified. My excitement was on account of the subject of the film which was reasonable and sensible. Another thing that attracted me was that Aditya told me that he wanted to make a movie which not only interests the audience but also of which the Indian Army is proud of.” She also says that as an intelligence officer, it’s her job, to foresee the unseen. It was an interesting approach for Yami as an actor, because she had to be natural when it came to expressions and dialogue delivery. She says, “The whole idea was to keep it as real as possible.” 

Yami shares that this is the film very close to her heart, not just as an actor, but also as the citizen of India. She says, “I absolutely love my character, I play a pivotal role in the entire operation. And the surgical strikes are definitely one of the most important events in the history of the Indian Army. Because it is the first time we took such an initiative and it is also one of the most brilliantly planned and coordinated attacks and that is why I think it’s vital for every individual be it a child, to know what actually happened.”

The film shows what it means to step into the army men’s shoes, who are ready to take a bullet for us. Yami interestingly shares an incident of which she’s proud of, “When we screened the film for the Indian Army, an officer came to me and said ‘we really loved the film, the way it’s written as well as executed it’s really commendable.’ He praised me by saying that my acting matched that of an intelligence officer’s demeanour. And that it appeared to be exactly the way they are in real life. Getting a compliment from such dignitaries meant the world to me.”

The Indian Armed Forces are selflessly guarding the borders and make so many sacrifices for us. She sees Uri as a very small and humble way to pay tribute to the Indian Army.

Ask Yami, how did she understand the incident better after doing the film, she says, “When the Uri attack happened, I was just aware as as any layperson. Back then I didn’t even know the meaning of surgical strikes properly. So when I read the script, it gave me an inside out of what actually happened and what our soldiers have gone through. I remember that there was only one sentiment that everybody was angry, everybody was hurt as an Indian. The way this attack was carried out on our soldiers, who were sleeping at that time was really very bad.”

“Patriotism cannot be shown only on two particular dates; it needs to go beyond that. I feel cinema, in that way, is a very powerful tool and can successfully influence young minds,” adds she.

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