Akshay Kumar’s Kesari On The Battle Of Saragarhi Becomes The Highest Grosser Of 2019. And Deservedly
Imad Zafar reviews Akshay Kumar’s latest movie Kesari made on the epic battle of Saragarhi where 21 Sikh soldiers held almost 10,000 Afghans for an entire day.
In an era when Bollywood is focusing on typical Masala movies like Simba or Salman Khan’s typical action stunt movies, Akshay Kumar is delivering classic after classic. First, he rocked the box office with a movie like Gold which was a tale of an Indian hockey team winning the world cup soon after the partition and now Akshay with Director Anurag Singh has delivered another blockbuster movie “Kesari” on the battle of Saragarhi.
This battle was fought on 12 September 1897 and 21 Sikh Soldiers of the British Army fought against the 10 to 12 thousand Afghan invaders. The 36 regiment of the British Indian Army was able to hold the Afghan intruders for a whole day buying time for their other regiments to be well prepared for the attack.
Director Anurag Singh has been wonderful and he sets the film perfectly. Askhay Kumar in the role of Hawaldar Ishwar Singh does justice to the film with his superb acting and perfect dialogue delivery.
The first half of the movie is well crafted and the characters are introduced to the audience to create an emotional bond with them. From the hen fight scene to the Sipahi Bhola who all his life had been treated inappropriately due to his low cast and financial position and the classic war action scenes create sensation in the mind of the viewer and a sense of sympathy with the characters.
Parineeti Chopra has a very minor role in the film as Hawaldar Ishwar Singh’s (Akshay) wife, but even her little role creates an impact. One can see Parinneti only in the imagination of Halwadar Ishwar Sing talking to her, but each and every single romantic scene showing Hawaldar Ishwar Singh and his wife is a treat to watch.
The final scene where Hawaldar Ishwar Singh decides to take on the invaders single-handedly and his wife Parineeti Chopra appears in the imagination, brings tears to the eyes.
The teenage soldier Sipahi Gurmukh Singh, the final soldier who dies in the movie, also delivered a strong punch at the end so the audience should not go back home with a heavy heart. The music of the movie is not phenomenal but it isn’t ordinary either. The Punjabi lyrics “judai pey jani jo tenu kehni si gal dil vich hi reh jani” played at the start of the war is outstanding and it surely has an impact on the heart and soul.
Director Anurag Singh has done justice to the story of the brave Punjabi soldiers. Anurag’s real success is that unlike Sanjay Bhansali, he neither depended on the heavy and luxurious sets nor did he try to tamper the facts. It is his perfect direction which keeps the flow of the movie going and keep the audience on the edge of their seats all through the move.
The movie has minted 110 crore Indian Rupees in just 10 days and it has become the highest opener and the most successful movie of the year 2019. This is Akshay’s third consecutive movie that has minted over 100 crores and with Amir Khan’s “Thugs of Hindustan” and Shah Rukh Khan’s “Zero” being massive flops, it is clear that Akshay is the new king of Bollywood. It is movies like Kesari that has given Akshay the edge over his competitors and given him the opportunity to show the versatile skills of his acting on the big screen.
- Fun Fact: Salman Khan was initially asked to get into a production partner in the movie. Salman initially agreed to produce it but later walked out, predicting that the movie would be a flop on the box office.
However, Kesari is minting big money and it is also being praised by the critics for the strong script, direction, and acting. Kesari’s success has actually highlighted one of those many heroic battles fought on the soil of subcontinent by the locals but they have for some reasons forgotten by the masses.
All the 21 soldiers of this battle were awarded the Indian Order of Merit Award which at that time was the highest military reward in United India and it was equivalent to Victoria Cross.
One hopes that with the success of Kesari, Bollywood will focus more on the original plots and historical stories. For the people who love history, Kesari is a must watch and it deserves 4 out of 5 for its original plot and the dramatization of the event with the flair of commercial cinema still intact in the movie.
The author is a regular contributor at various newspapers and websites. He has been associated with various TV channels. radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policy and media related think tanks.