Aditya Dhar’s Uri: The Surgical Strike has had a solid run over its opening weekend, claiming an estimated Rs 35.73 crore since its release on January 11. The action film is a dramatisation of the Indian Army’s stealth attack on terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016. Uri stars Vicky Kaushal as Major Vihaan Singh Shergill and Paresh Rawal as the national security adviser who comes up with the plan.
Uri was released on a little over 1,200 screens, and benefitted from a strong pre-release reaction to its trailer and positive reviews, with praise being lavished on the film’s realistic battle scenes and patriotic sentiment. The producer of Uri, RSVP Movies, has another hit on its hands after the December 2018 release Kedarnath, directed by Abhishek Kapoor and starring Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan.
The other key release of the week didn’t fare badly either. The Accidental Prime Minister, Vijay Gutte’s movie about the tensions in Manmohan Singh’s government, was released on an estimated 1,300 screens on January 11. Gutte’s film, based on the Sanjaya Baru memoir of the same name, stars Anupam Kher as Singh and Akshaye Khanna as Baru.
Although reviews of The Accidental Prime Minister were mostly withering and it was dismissed as an overt piece of pro-ruling party propaganda (as opposed to the slicker Uri), the film seems to have garnered enough curiosity, especially since it has used real names and openly criticises the internal politics of the Indian National Congress party. Its estimated earnings since January 11 were Rs 12.20 crore.
Both films were the first important releases of the year after Rohit Shetty’s comedy-tinged police drama Simmba. Starring Ranveer Singh as a crooked police inspector who goes straight, the official remake of the Telugu hit Temper was released on December 28. Simmba’s producers – Rohit Shetty Picturez, Reliance Entertainment and Dharma Productions – have reported a box office haul of Rs 224.84 crore. The movie’s success, especially when compared to the poor showing by Thugs of Hindostan (starring Aamir Khan) and Zero (starring Shah Rukh Khan), signals Ranveer Singh’s ascendance and has hotted up the prospects of his first release for 2019, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy.