Kesari packs a punch!

Cast – Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Edward Sonnenblick, Mir Sarwar
Director – Anurag Singh
Rating: 4 /5

Kesari | The Plot

Kesari is based on an unbelievable true story of 21 Sikhs who stood against a mighty army of 10,000 Afghani soldiers. The story commences with Havaldar Ishar Singh, played by Akshay Kumar, being transferred for insubordination. At the sleepy fort of Saragarhi, he meets un-focussed soldiers and decides to discipline them. Meanwhile, seeds of discontent have been sown within the Afghan community, who decide to capture the Saragarhi Fort in a bid to cut contact and ultimately win the Gulistaan and Lockhart Forts. Will they be able to succeed or will 21 men with limited weaponry inflict a crushing defeat to the barbaric Afghans forms rest of the story?

The Performances

Akshay Kumar leads from the front and delivers a power packed performance. A special mention must be made of the gusto and the rage in his eyes during the film’s climax.

Kumar is supported ably by a largely unknown yet talented cast. Sumeet Basran as rookie Gurmukh Singh makes you empathetic till the very end. Vivek Saini packs an emotional punch as Jiwan Singh. Also laudable are the efforts of the actors playing the second in command, the rebel soldier and the water bearer. Rakesh Chaturvedi excels as a conniving villain while Mir Sarvar’s character of an Afghan chieftain will make you feel rage and respect at the same time.

The only sore thumb is Parineeti Chopra, whose role has been forcefully fit. However, her part is played out as a refreshing change from JP Dutta’s depictions of war wives and girlfriends.

Technical Aspects – Real Winners

Kesari’s music and background score work well and you are sure to feel a surge of emotions as the film progresses. The real hero of the movie is its cinematography and breath-taking action.

Recreating the vast expanse of Afghanistan in Maharashtra’s Wai is commendable. And scenes of the 10,000 strong Afghani army descending on the fort will haunt you for a long time. Both the cinematographer – Anshul Chaubey – and action director, Pervaiz Shaikh, deserve accolades for this. As does the Kesari VFX team.

The largest praise, however, must be left for director, Anurag Singh. Helming a project of such a colossal scale with such finesse – it is difficult to believe that he is only one film old. Every dialogue has been brought to good effect by co-relating it at unexpected intervals which shows the hallmark of Singh as an exciting storyteller. Worth mentioning is the scene about a soldier saving a pair of shoes for his father and its depiction twice later – in the battlefield and then in its aftermath.

All in all, Kesari deserves a 21-Gun Salute not only for the 21 bravehearts on the battlefield but also for the craft in this cinematic tale. An unknown page from Indian history has been brought to light now.

In the end, I will just add a line to Akshay Kumar’s now-famous dialogue: Aaj meri paghdi bhi Kesari, jo bahega mera lahu bhi Kesari, mera jawab bhi Kesari. And iss saal ki best films main bhi Kesari!

-Sumedha Mathur

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