The year 2019 started with a bang as URI: The Surgical Strike blazed onto the big screen to give us a high-impact experience. Bhakti Mehta spoke to debut actor, Mohit Raina as he shared what went into pulling off what certainly felt like an off-screen surgical strike
On The Brief
There are certain projects which strike the right chord and I guess URI: The Surgical Strike was one of them. When I met the team for the first time, I realised what kind of structure and scale they were looking at and it was not a difficult decision for me to be part of this film.
On The Role
Aditya (Dhar) had researched the script and etched the characters so deeply that there was very little left for us to do. He would explain his research in detail and it was completely in sync with everything. We just did what he wanted us to do. But, yes, during the readings and the initial workshops, there were certain nuances and inputs which, as an actor, you would suggest especially when you took it to the on-location shoot. Aditya, being very flexible, would make it happen.
On The Challenges
When I was working in Gujarat, before I was offered URI, I had injured myself. In this film, there were two to three months of intense physical training that I had to go through. It was a challenge going through the training with that injury. I pushed myself as much as I could, and, slowly it worked very well.
There were a lot of night shots plus some early morning ones too. It used to get very cold in Serbia. The attack at Uri had happened in the wee hours and they wanted to capture that light, sunrise and the sun rays at that time. We would get ready by 4 am or 5 am and as soon as the first rays would hit, we would start shooting. Those were the challenges which the entire team faced. When you see the film, it all seems worth it.
On The Director
Although he carries the tag of a ‘debut director’, he is just too good at his job. The cast and crew were full of young people, so the energy on the set was positive. I feel when the intent is right and honest while making anything, the outcome is always good. The intention of this team, led by Aditya, was to tell this beautiful story in the best possible way and so it worked.
On The Co-Stars
I had a lot of scenes with Vicky (Kaushal). I met him for the first time during the workshops and training sessions. We went through the training for two months, every day. And like everyone knows, he is a sweet and humble guy. Despite the fact that he is so successful, he is genuinely nice. Everyone has seen how amazing he is in his craft, right from his first film.
On The Response
I knew the amount of time I had on screen to play this character and I was sure that people would understand my character but I didn’t anticipate how much people would appreciate it. The character has received so much love and praise, and I think that is what good writing and direction does to a role.
There is a famous line in this industry that one Friday can change your life and that’s how it has been for me. I wanted to get into the web space and I have already finished a web series. There is another in the pipeline.