Review By : Movie Run Time : 2 hours 30 minutes Censor Rating : U/A

Production: Cape Of Good Films, Dharma Productions Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra Direction: Anurag Singh Screenplay: Anurag Singh, Girish Kohli Story: Anurag Singh, Girish Kohli Music: Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Chirantan Bhatt, Tanishk Bagchi Background score: Raju Singh Cinematography: Anshul Chobey Distribution: Zee Studios

The basic premise of Anurag Singh's Kesari (Saffron) has the perfect mould to be a Pandavas vs Kauravas-like tale. A group of brave-hearted soldiers has to fight against an overwhelming ten-thousand strong army. The film really fulfills this aspect to a greater extent with many rousing moments of bravery, but can everyone stomach this brutality involved in it remains a big question.

Based on true events, Kesari tells the story of the soldiers positioned in the 36 regiment located in Saragarhi, lead by Havildar Ishar Singh (played by Akshay Kumar), as the army of twenty-one soldiers are pitted against the Afghan army of ten thousand and more men. The Sikh army's fight till their last breath forms the crux of the story. Kesari starts with an action sequence and establishes Ishan Singh's righteous character right at the start, but this adrenaline rush does not extend to the whole first half.

The first half runs at a more mellowed pace and devotes more screen time to the supporting characters and their psyche. One soldier is a grumpy hothead with a tragic past whilst another shines his shoes spotlessly clean for it is a gift to his father. This works very well during the battle sequence, where their lives are dangling between life and death and we desperately root for them to come out of it triumphantly. One of the film's hilarious yet poignant stretch involves a punishment meted out to the soldiers by Ishan Singh for lacking discipline.

The first half manages to lead us to the cliffhanger of an interval amidst the light-hearted portions. The second half marks the beginning of the hour-long war sequence destined for epic-ness. The second half starts with a mandatory war cry from Ishan Singh (Akshay Kumar, in his best performance till date). The war sequences never feel as there are so many surprises thrown in between. The scenes work really well due to the fact that the Indian army is exponentially outnumbered, the threat feels more real and the small victories feel more gripping.

The attention to detail is so spot on in the set pieces, creating a time and place with much accuracy. The second half beautifully chronicles the valour of Sikh pride without resorting to jingoism. On the contrary, the film defines Sikh pride with a touch of compassion.

But the issues of the film comes down to its graphic display of violence. One can argue that its impossible to make a non-violent war film. But the fact of the matter is whether we prepare the audience before letting them watch it. The final portions of Kesari contain some visceral amount of violence that definitely warrants an 'A' certificate. The CG blood doesn't make it any better.

But minor problems aside, Kesari is a terrific film elevated by a great supporting cast, special mention to the actors who played the soldiers of the regiment, as they lend more energy to the war sequences whilst exuding warmth in the film's initial portions. The film's writing gives more space for characters to perform (except for Parineeti Chopra, who just comes and goes throughout the film). On the whole, Kesari is a brilliant war epic with splendid contributions from every department.


Verdict: A brilliantly made war epic with whistle-worthy performances and moment, that shouldn't be missed


3 5 ( 3.0 / 5.0 )





Kesari (aka) Kesarii

Kesari (aka) Kesarii is a Hindi movie. Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra are part of the cast of Kesari (aka) Kesarii. The movie is directed by Anurag Singh. Music is by Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Chirantan Bhatt, Tanishk Bagchi. Production by Cape Of Good Films, Dharma Productions, cinematography by Anshul Chobey.