Anurag Singh’s Kesari brings to screen the real life 1897 Battle of Saragarhi where 21 valiant Sikh soldiers battled fiercely with the 10000 strong men from Afghan tribesmen. The battle occurred in the rugged terrains of today’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The film is paramount in cinematic shots and fully captures the period’s sentiments.
However, a dollop of realism is severely lacking in the period drama, Kesari. The film lacks the essence of emotional chagrin faced by the valiant Sikhs who knew they were fighting a
lost battle. The men are stranded between the enemy gates at the fort of Saragarhi and the British army’s communications hub. They have options of abandoning the fight but pervades to stay and fight valiant. Their valiant choice comes not from the salary they receive, the uniform they sport or the Union Jack that flutters in the wind.
The hero subtly hints at the reason with the Kesari turban he sports. Kesari or saffron is synonymous for courage and sacrifice. The protagonist comprehends his very identity in the movie. Is he an ordinary paid soldier, a slave of the British or a man of ethics?
Akshay Kumar as usual stuns the audience with his exemplar performance by essaying the role of Havildar Ishar Singh and breathes life to the role of soldier who puts up glorious resistance to the forthcoming enemies.
Parineeti Chopra puts in a special performance as the love interest of Ishar Singh’s life.
However, the choice of British cast does nothing but irks the audience. They do nothing other than bark orders and belittle the Indians.
Kesari efficaciously essays the horrors of wars and shuns the jingoism that usually accompany such genres of film. Akshay’s fans will be thrilled to see his Kesari role which extracts yet another laudable performance from the star.