Kesari Movie Review 2019: The Colour Of Valour

Kesari Movie Review 2019: The Colour Of Valour

Movie Name
Anurag Singh
Action, Drama, History
02 hours 30 minutes

Kesari Review

It's 1897 when Indian soldiers served the British.

Out in the harsh North-West terrain, Havildar Ishar Singh is banished to Fort Saragarhi where nothing happens. It's a punishment posting forIshar Singh has disobeyed his white master's orders and leapt to the defence of an Afghan woman.

That well-executed opening scene right away puts a premium on the righteousness and leonine courage of the Sikhs who serve the unfeeling British.

The legendary valour is put to the test when 10,000 Afghan tribesmen lay siege to Saragarhi which is manned by only 21 Sikhs. The Afghan intent is to capture all three forts in the North-West area. Ishar Singh and his team's determination is to literally hold the fort and thus save the other two from falling into enemy hands. Which encapsulates the Battle of Saragarhi.In a later verbal confrontation, when the Afghans sneer at their perceived lack of courage, Ishar Singh replies, "10,000 of you come to fight 21 of us, and you talk of bravery?"

Writer-director Anurag Singh who has fictionalised the true event, gets the help of efficient production design, cinematography and some obvious computer graphics, to mount an impressive battle-scape that seems to have sought inspiration from the 2006 Hollywood film 300.

But the narration itself is where Anurag doesn't do justice to a story that needed to be chronicled.

If you think of earlier war movies that have worked, like JP Dutta's Border for instance, you realise where the overlong Kesari lost its way.

Half-a-dozen emotional connects were made in Border between the soldiers and their personal lives. ButKesari is satisfied paying obeisance only to Akshay Kumar's star presence. Repetitive flashes of a wife he wooed and wed give Ishar Singh a family connect. But the rest of the regiment is dismissed with a few lines of dialogue on caste discrimination or being called to duty without consummating a marriage or leaving behind a six-month-old infant. Kesari also doesn't have melodious music to take home with you.

There are other notes too that go wrong with Kesari. The first half with its Punjabi-Afghani dialogues is a drag. The humour, like a pair of roosters asking to be cooked and eaten or a play on the eff word, are feeble.

The opening righteousness of Ishar Singh continues. He exhorts his men to do seva in the village to make a mosque and in the final battle asks the khansama or cook to make sure he gives water to dying men on both sides of the battle lines. References to where those noble thoughts came from are worthy of being told.

But a cruel cleric and a sniper with soorma, rouge and painted nails who kills with a smile, typify the Pathans as savage screen villains.

What is perhaps the most disappointing takeaway is that Anurag makes Saragarhi a communal standoff between ‘Allah Hu Akbar' and ‘Bole So Nihal'.

Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.

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  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

The Battle of Saragarhi which brought to focus Sikh valour and martyrdom, required a tighter narration. But it is saved to a large extent by Akshay Kumar’s sincerity and fire, and the emphasis on Sikh bravery.

For an excellent premise that suffers from ineffectual writing, Kesari gets a 3* rating.


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