Kesari is a Hindi movie produced and directed by Anurag Singh. It was released on 21st March 2019 and made an impact on the audience due to its patriotic flavour. It is a true story of the brave Sikh community of our country. Kesari is the remarkable and impressive tale of the fight during the British regime between a handful of about 21 Sikh soldiers of the British Indian army against the mighty army of about 10000 Afghani Pathans. In history, it is known as the battle of Saragarhi and took place in the year 1897.
The movie is directed by the director Anurag Singh. The Bollywood star Akshay Kumar has played the main role of Sikh warrior Ishar Singh. Other cast includes Parineeti Chopra, Edward Sonnenblick, Mark Bennington, Pawan Malhotra, Ashwath Bhatt, Rana Ranbir and Mir Sarwar.
The cinematic scenes are composed by the cameraman Anshul Chobey and the shots taken by him are really very impressive and eye soothing. The sets mimicking the then North-West province (presently Khyber area in Pakistan) and production design are created by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray. They have given an authentic and impressive look to those aspects in the movie and really look spectacular. The costumes are intricately worked out by Sheetal Sharma.
During the 19th century when the Britishers had conquered a large part of India, they started their expansion towards Afghanistan. By that time the British Indian army was well in place and a small group of Sikh regiment was posted in a small communication post located at Fort Saragarhi, a small place located in the then North Western Frontier Province (NWFP). This post was basically used to relay messages between two major military forts -- Gulistan and Lockhardt. The Sikh regiment always felt pride in getting postings in remote and difficult places and at that time were distinguished with their dress in the saffron (Kesari) colour. Sikhs are well known for their brevity and do anything to perform their duties. In the year 1897, the war of Saragarhi was fought between a handful of Sikh warriors and a mighty army of 10000 Afghans. It was in that background that this Hindi war movie was conceived by the producer and the director.
The plot moves along the story written by Girish Kohli & Anurag Singh. Havaldar Ishar's British superior Lawrence (Edward Sonnenblick) is unhappy on Ishar's fight with some local Afghan tribesmen and transfers him to the neighboring post of Saragarhi. Ishar reaches there and finds some of the soldiers of 36th Sikh Regiment waiting for him. Ishar had a great responsibility to train the unruly Sikh soldiers who were present in the Saragarhi post and he did his all-out efforts to bring them to a disciplined group ready to pay their loyalty to the Britishers. The movie has a flashback of Ishar remembering the courtship and marriage with his wife Janki (Parineeti Chopra). This part is also very entertaining having intermittent humour in Akshay Kumar's usual style.
Meanwhile, the marauding Afghanis were planning their advances towards British India to block and stop the British aggression in that direction. The fundamentalist Afghan cleric Saidullah (Rakesh Chaturvedi) was leading the Afghan troupes for this purpose. This aggression by the Afghans is depicted nicely by the director as their leader Saidullah is always talking of Jihad in his religiously provocative orders to his soldiers. He is coming towards the post of Saragarhi for an expected ambush by his mighty army to take control of the territory. On the other hand, Ishar is also motivating and encouraging his jawans to give a tough fight to the invaders and give them a lesson. While doing this Ishar is time to time reminding the Sikhs of their great religion, their erstwhile bravery and their loyalty to their employer the Britishers. So, both sides have similar elements of excitement to fight and only difference is one is attacking while other is protecting the motherland.
Akshay Kumar has single-handedly played the part of the Ishar the motivator in this war and his own flashback about his marriage and wife and the connected memories. Even being a war drama the movie has got good humour instances well played by Akshay Kumar. The most impressive thing in the movie is the sheer determination and will power of a hand full of 21 Sikh soldiers ready to give a lesson to the approaching enemy.
Performance at the Box Office
Kesari was very successful at the box office and in the first 7 days itself crossed 100 crore collection and it is the first movie in 2019 to do that.
The Public Perception and Critical Views
Kesari is a movie based on the valour and bravery of a group of Sikh soldiers of the British Indian army in the pre-independence India under the British rule and glorifies their fight with a powerful mighty Afghan troupe. People having the patriotic inclination and national pride will definitely like this movie but at the same time for those who go to movies for sheer enjoyment and masala songs and scenes, it could turn out to be a disappointment. Still, the movie made a remarkable impression in the cine-world and was critically acclaimed as one of the best stories of brevity and patriotism presented in recent times.
Kesari is a power-packed Hindi movie lucidly directed by the director to recreate the fierce fight of a handful of Sikh soldiers in exciting and continuous action sequences. It is a good movie especially for the viewers having interest in historical dramas and satires. The direction and the locale selections are superb and it will definitely captivate the audience.