It is a common saying ‘Ek Sikh Savaa Lakh ke Barabar Hota Hai’. While there have been many battles fought over the years, The Battle of Saragarhi standing out for more reasons than one. Especially when you know that the Sikhs were outnumbered and still gave the Afghans a run for their money. This week releases Kesari, starring Akshay Kumar, which highlights the Battle of Saragarhi. Does it live up to the massive hype or do the audience ‘surrender’ to boredom…lets find out.
Kesari is a story of the accounts of 21 bravehearts who fought valiantly and eventually were martryed in the Battle of Saragarhi. It is a battle that somehow was missing in our history textbooks but it ought to have been because it is so inspirational. The screenplay is about the two halves. It gets off to a bit of a flyer but post that it is a grind till you get to the second half. The first half (by the way) has some light moments and a love track that was just not required and just adds to the length of the film. Thankfully, the entire battle takes place in the second half and this is when the film shines and becomes memorable. What seemed like a damp squib turns out to be a roar !!! The action sequences are brilliantly shot. A special mention of the cinematography that is breathtaking. The dialogues pack a punch too. Songs were not really required! Director Anurag Singh who has directed a handful of Punjabi films including the national award winning Punjab 1984, and whose last Hindi outing was the forgettable Dil Bole Hadippa is in red hot form here. Never did it look like he was not in control of the proceedings and it is his direction that shines throughout.
Parineeti Chopra is decent in her cameo. The heart of the film though is Akshay Kumar as Ishar Singh. He just blows life into his character and pulls off his stunts just as he used to in his younger days. All other Sikh officers are quite good. The Englishmen though seemed to have walked out of the set of Manikarnika and on the set of this film. Same guys I tell you and same dialogues and expressions!
On the whole, Kesari is a memorable film mainly due to the second half! It has its heart in the right place with right amounts of nationalism and valour. Celebrate this festive season with the colour of Kesari!