Anurag Singh's Kesari is one very important, incredible story and also the one which I actually anticipated. Releasing with Holi festive benefits, the film stars Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in the leading roles.
This is an unbelievable but actually a genuine ballad which oozes with nationalism in its truest form. The 21 Sikh soldiers posted in the Saragarhi fort (by the colonial Indian army generals) put up a brave fight against 10,000 Afghan men before the Tirah camp on 12th September, 1897. The day is still celebrated as the Saragarhi Day.
These sarfarosh men draped in formal yellow uniforms are led by Ishar Singh, another Sikh leader. The uniform is the same for him, except that the turban he wears is all-saffron, dazzling 'kesariya' in colour. The turban forms the film's title, Kesari. Ofcourse this is a cinematic liberty, but director Anurag Singh adapts it actually from folktales, and in the first half, he spruces up the historic events. That's necessary, since nothing's actually in memory of the 36th Sikh Regiment before or after the war, so we have dramatic characters: a soldier who left for the posting on his wedding night, a soldier who wasn't respected due to his social and cultural status, and the leader Ishar Singh himself has an interesting backstory. While we hear the stories of other soldiers, we see Ishar's. Obviously we must, since Ishar here is Akshay Kumar, the superstar who drives the saffron car. This politically contemporary and romantically old school, highly conventional warrior has a love angle with Jeevani, played by Parineeti Chopra. In the film which carries modern dialogue, their wedding is a sweet love marriage.
The film has practically luxurious writing all over tue first half. Unfortunately, it's the second half where the film meanders. The main reason why is the screenwriting style. The motivation which shook you in the first half becomes way more single-minded than just very single-minded. You do feel a swell of pride for these brave men amd their willingness to sacrifice their lives, but it's utterly exhausting and the visuals of terrifying gore is what you soak into. The unflinching bravery of these men, which could have been well-crafted with weapons, seems rough. The first half held the screenplay in a more taut way.
But to be precise, Kesari still carries power. Just like Manikarnika, though in lesser proportion, it is Akshay Kumar's performance which carries the film forward. I suggest you make time for it just to see the work of Anurag as a debutant. I'm going with three stars out of five for the film Kesari. It's one of those better films this year which could have used better writing and a sharper ensemble of cast.
There's a scene at around the 40th minute in Kesari (Saffron) where a character cracks a joke so awful that it tells you something about the tepid writing that has gone behind the film. A superficial description of a real-life story of bravery and valour set in pre-Independent India, Anurag Singh's epic historical drama is mediocre in a lot of departments, most notably the production setup. I am also not satisfied with the turn of events in Kesari until it comes to one or two points about war and religious and territorial rivalry, nor was I thrilled to watch Akshay Kumar don the role of a maverick Sikh soldier. However, it did impress me when it subtly referred to the menace of the youth turning into terrorism in the present day world, which is why I regard the film as an average watch. Might be a notch or three better for people from the Sikh community both because of the sporadic language use and history. TN.
Amazingly Crafted war movie.... great mix of emotions comedy and war scenes