Director: Anurag Singh
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra
Written by: Girish Kohli, Anurag Singh
KESARI is based on the battle of Saragarhi which happened in the September of 1987. Hawaldar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) is posted somewhere in the present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Sikh regiment. The regiment witnesses a woman who is about to be executed by a group of Afghan tribesmen for not adhering to her marriage. Despite his superior British officer warning him not to get involved, Ishar attacks the Afghans and saves the lady. Hence the officer, as a punishment, transfers Ishar to Saragarhi fort, which is considered to be a place where nothing ever happens. Ishar reaches there and sees that the 20 sikh soldiers posted there are just happy and lazying around as they are aware that there’s nothing like an emergency or war that’s going to happen there. Ishar tries to punish them but fails as he sees the brother like unity among the soldiers. Meanwhile, the various Afghan tribe chiefs unite and decide to attack the Saragarhi Fort and also Fort Gulistan and Fort Lockhart and thus defeat the British. The Afghans are aware that there are only a handful of Sikh Soldiers posted at Saragarhi and hence would be easily defeated. Ishar and the others in the fort are in for a shock when they realize as they see around 10,000 tribesmen surrounding the fort and are set to attack. While Ishar gets an order from the British to stay put at the fort, they are unable to provide help as Afghans have cut off all routes to Saragarhi. Ishar asks his people at the fort that it fighting so many people would be like walking to their deaths and if they want to runaway. The soldiers refuse and they prefer to fight and die than runaway. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The film opens up on a great note, but it loses its impact as the hour progresses and becomes repetitive and long as most of the action is scheduled to take place in the second half. The love story in the film doesn’t really have anything to offer and sticks out like a sore thumb. The second half is gripping, mainly thanks to the war sequence. The film is a good and an inspirational watch. The film looks large and makes a great impact as well.
Technically, the film was very good. Cinematography by Anshul Chobey is nice and he manages to capture the war sequences amazingly. Editing by Manish More was good but could have been better as the film drags a little in the first half. The production design and costume design deserve a mention as the era and everything that was set up looks immaculate and so real. The script was well written and it shows. Teri Mitti is the pick of the lot among the songs, albeit, there were only a few songs in the film.
Performances from the actors were brilliant. KESARI was all Akshay Kumar. As one would expect, he was the heart and the soul of the film. He is brilliant as ever and easily delivers his career’s finest outing in this one. Parineeti Chopra does well in her bit part in the film. Rakesh Chaturvedi (Mullah) plays the antagonist in the film and he gives a nice performance as well. The rest of the cast offer superlative support.
Director, Anurag Singh gets some top notch performances from all of his cast and delivers a solid feature.
At the box-office
The film has taken a bumper opening and has all the ingredients to a massive hit at the ticket windows across the nation.