Cutting down all loose talk about making a quick sequel to Uri, director Aditya Dhar says he is done with URI and the genre for the time being. “A story needed to be told. It ’s the story of the exemplary courage that was shown by our soldiers on the border in 2016. I’ve told what I had to. The last thing I need from myself is to repeat the same story just because it’s successful,” says Aditya.
No war film but a totally different genre for Aditya Dhar next. Revealing some details of his next project Aditya says, “It will be a completely different world from the one in Uri. But still in the real space. Yes, it is again based on a true-life event. And that’s all I can tell you. And of course, I can also tell you that my next film too will be produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP production house. The way Ronnie, and for that matter, Vicky Kaushal stood by Uri and believed in it, I’d be foolish to change my priorities.”
A major reason why Aditya opted to make a war film was the degeneration of the war genre in Hindi cinema. “There was a time when really worthy war films were made in Hindi. Then in the new millennium, the war genre was being subjected to some very bizarre treatment. I felt the need of the hour was an honest war film that didn’t indulge in unnecessary hate-mongering and cheap jingoism.”
Uri was made at a cost of Rs 25 crores and has already made profits of over Rs 200 crores. Aditya would now have access to unlimited budgets. But he is n’t looking at splurging on production costs. “We worked under extremely tight budgetary circumstances in Uri, and that was good. Because it kept us constantly on our toes, forever anxious. I think anxiety is a big impetus to productivity and creativity. I fear unlimited budgets would make me lazy as a filmmaker. I’d rather work within controlled budgets. My aim as a filmmaker is to make a film look large, far more spectacular than the budget would suggest. I’d like to spend 30 crores. But it should look like a 150-crore film.”
Interestingly Uri has also performed exceptionally well outside India. In the posh AMC multiplex chain in the US, URI has outperformed all the other big blockbusters of Hollywood during the past one year.
“What can I say?” Aditya is delighted. “Indians abroad are as committed to the spirit of nationalism as those of us here in India.”
There are talks of Aditya Dhar and his producers registering and copyrighting the title ‘How High Is The Josh’, the catchphrase from the blockbuster war film Uri. But Aditya completely shoots down any such proprietorial moves. “That phrase which has caught on in such a big way doesn’t belong to me. It is used quite extensively in the army to motivate the soldiers. I only plucked it out of its habitat and replanted it in a space where it was accessible to civilians. I’m glad everyone from the Prime Minister to gym instructors is using it to motivate improvement in the country ’s performance. I have no intention of patenting the phrase. Josh to sab ko any chahiye.”