Avrodh-The Siege Within
Cast: Madhurima Tuli, Amit Sadh, Darshan Kumaar, Neeraj Kabi, Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, Vikram Gokhale
Director: Raj Acharya
Based on a chapter of the bestseller India’s Most Fearless by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh, web series Avrodh sets the chronology of the Indian Army’s attack across the line of control with Pakistan right. Told mostly from a journalist’s point of view, and partly from the on-ground officers’ perspectives, the show features the series of events leading up to the forceful retaliation by the Indian Army to avenge the Uri terrorist attack of September 2016.
It’s more like documentation with a particular focus on not letting it become another Uri-The Surgical Strike, the film. The makers have cut down on the drama part, thought at one point Major Videep Singh (Amit Sadh) comes really close to screaming ‘how’s the josh!’
With each of the nine episodes of around 23-25 minute effective runtime, Avrodh doesn’t face the problem of being lethargic or tedious to comprehend. In fact, the actual action begins much later into the show, with a lot of weaving around the Delhi diplomacy and how the PMO kept the entire operation a secret from even the well-placed ministers.
Neeraj Kabi’s NSA and Ananth Mahadevan’s Principal Secretary add an interesting ‘bureaucratic’ layer that was the hallmark of the Uri retaliation attack. The book and the show believe that the prime minister, played by Vikram Gokhale, personally monitored the operation, and thus the director Raj Acharya has put enough emphasis on not letting the strings cut loose and the atmosphere appear lighter than the occasion demanded. Thankfully, Gokhale has kept it only to body-language and hasn’t tried imitating Narendra Modi’s voice.
Namrata Joshi (Madhurima Tuli) fits into the stereotypical bracket of female TV journalists that the Hindi showbiz has been feeding us for the longest time, but her ‘I mean business’ attitude has saved the day for her. In fact, she and Mahadevan try to neautralise Kabi’s theatrics that go overboard at times.
But all said and done, anything related to the national pride, especially something like surgical strikes, has a distinct appeal and capturing that emotional highpoint remains the main highlight of any such show or film, and Avrodh does it just right.
Also, Amit Sadh has become quite dependable for those silent-strong type characters we love to see in uniform. After Breathe, he has once again presented his shoulders at the frontline.
Because the heavily reported chain of events is so fresh in the public memory, the show faces the problem of novelty. The pace of the show tries to supplement for it but then how much can you do about it! Nevertheless, Avrodh is quite a breezy watch and if you are a fan of action across the enemy lines then this might be the show you’re looking for.