Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Edward Sonnenblick, R. Bhakti Klein, Mark Bennington
Kesari follows the battle that 21 braveheart Sikh soldiers valiantly fought and helped thwart the attempt of the Afghan invaders to capture British held forts in India. A story of valour and courage, the Battle of Saragarhi unfolds in theatres this week never to be forgotten.
Set in the 1897 pre-independence period, Kesari focuses on three British-occupied forts that were originally built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh - Fort Saragarhi, Fort Gulistan and Fort Lockhart. Havildar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) who is posted at Gulistan Fort gets transferred to Saragarhi Fort due to disobedience of orders from a superior British officer. When he reaches Saragarhi, he meets 20 Sikh soldiers who look or behave nothing like a soldier. Havildar Ishar Singh slowly understands them and molds them into being disciplined officers and considerate humans at the same time. A contentious region, the three forts soon become part of an Afghan plan of invasion. On the 12th of September, 1897, these invaders attack Saragarhi Fort, which is held by Ishar Singh. How the 21 courageous soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment fight these invaders who outnumber them drastically is what the film's second half is all about.
Kesari has exemplary action sequences, which are a treat for any action-movie lover. The role is tailor-made for Akshay Kumar who excels in the action and emotional scenes. Anshul Chobey's camera work is of high quality and needs to be appreciated here. Parineeti Chopra as Ishar Singh's wife is wonderful, especially in the light-hearted scenes. The other cast members grab your attention with their fairly decent performance.
Kesari is high on nationalism, sense of freedom, and courage. It will touch the hearts of every Indian and remind you of a history that was forgotten. The movie has some amazing chest-thumping dialogues that make you think about the bravery of these 21 Sikh soldiers who gave it their all.
The film does fall prey to certain Bollywood movie tropes, especially with regards to its action. It also gets melodramatic in parts due to its period genre. Apart from Akshay Kumar's character and a few more, the other characters are not given much prominence, which would have been an interesting addition to the overall narrative. Parineeti Chopra aces her role and we would've definitely liked to see more of her in the film.
Director Anurag Singh deserves a pat on the back as he has done a great job by bringing out best from his actors. The cinematography needs to be applauded along with commendable art-direction.
Kesari is a great tribute to the 21 Sikh soldiers of Saragarhi. It is a film that fills you up with pride and enhances your knowledge about the Indian subcontinent's rich history. It is a perfect Holi treat, so don't forget to spray Kesari - the color of bravery - this long weekend.