Kesari is a historical film based on the true event of Battle of Saragarhi fort in 1897. It’s written and directed by Anurag Singh.

Havildar Ishar Singh is a soldier in the British Indian Army. He is posted at Gulistan fort alongside Indian Afghan border. Ishar Singh once saved a woman from the clutches of Afghans who were going to behead her for not doing as they say. When Ishar Singh’s senior officers came to know about this, they humiliated him and transferred him to the 36 Sikh regiments at Saragarhi fort. He was the senior-most soldier at the Saragarhi fort and when he went there he found out that it was in a miserable condition with 0 discipline. He took the responsibility of maintaining discipline among the soldiers, therefore, punished them with one week of fasting. None of them was happy with him and hated him until they came to know that even he didn’t eat food. As time passed they became each other’s family and started enjoying together by singing and dancing, but this time discipline was maintained. Then one day they received a message from the other fort that Afghan soldiers are on their way to attack Saragarhi fort, therefore, they should leave it immediately otherwise they will be killed. But they decided the opposite and stayed there to fight. They were only 21 soldiers against 10,000 Afghans. One by one each one of them lost their life by fighting against those cruel Afghans. They were brave soldiers and fought with courage until the last breath to save the land.

The film started with a low pace just to set the mood but gripped it in the second half. The film had a soft romantic love story of Ishar Singh and his wife to lighten the mood of this intense film.

Kesari was filled with drama throughout 150mins whether it was the scenes between Ishar Singh and his seniors or between Ishar Singh and the Afghans. Dialogues in the film were powerful and were delivered skillfully by all the actors.

Akshay Kumar as Ishar Singh gave a memorable performance and rightfully portrayed the Sikh community. He had previously played a Sikh in his films; Singh is King and Singh is Bling in a comedy role but this time he raised the head of the community by giving a tribute to the whole community( which stands for courage and bravery).

The action sequence in the climax was very well directed with some good cinematography. As an audience, the pain of soldiers reaches your heart. The film portrayed heroism and patriotism by showing courageous and brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others and not let the countrymen and the community down.

The colour Kesari/Saffron holds a special place in the film which is evident by the importance given to it by Ishar singh by saying “Aaj meri paghdi bhi kesari … joh bahega mera lahu bhi kesari … aur mera jawab bhi kesari” and “kesari rang ka matlab samjhte ho..bahaduri ka rang hai shaheedi ka”.

By- Preeti Dalal


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