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Kesari Movie Review: It Is The Best War Film India Has Produced




Starring: Akshay Kumar

Directed by Anurag Singh

Rating: *****(5 stars)

21 soldiers holding  off thousands of invaders…sSunds very  filmy, no? But here is the thing.Life’s lessons learnt  from history  prove that  truth can  indeed  be stranger than fiction. And why just stranger? Truth is far  more stimulating and  enriching too . Kesari  proves it. Digging out a little  known uncelebrated  chunk of unbelievable bravery  , it makes us proud not just as Indians but also as  a country that produces  cinema  of  the highest calibre.

So  take  bow  , Anurag Singh for directing a  film which will be remembered  by many generations of  Indian  moviegoers as a turning point in  the  war genre  of cinema.

 Unlike  the imposters  that stalk the silver screen with their phoney nationalism and  exasperating jingoism Kesari puts its  money where  its mouth is. The  actors playing  the 21  incredibly  courageous  Sardarjis who  took on the  Afghani invasion,  speak  of  the pride for their country with no effort to  create an  impression. These  soldiers  mean business. When pitched against  the  worst odds, they know they are destined to die.And yet they fight to their last breath. Why? Becase  there  is a country  to be protected

Kesari doesn’t valorize  death. But it certainly throws  the idea of  patriotic pride at us  at  a pitch we’ve never seen  or heard before. And I don’t just mean Raju Singh’s  background music which unnecessarily compounds  the  intrinsically dramatic  action scenes. That’s not the only  irrelevant  augmentation that this  flawlessly-written film suffers, Parineeti Chopra as  Havildar Ishar Singh’s phantom-wife serves  no purpose except to add a touch ofmuliebrity to this  pointedly masculine   film.

Kesari is  an astonishing achievement. Like Sanjay Leela  Bhansali’s  Padmaavat the second-half  of the nervewracking drama  is devoted entirely to the battle between the 21 Sikh soldiers against  thousands  of  Islamic  invaders who are  shot  like crawling insects in aerial shots that turn the turgidity of  war into a sharply  aesthetic  celebration of  war sentiments.

This is  not a film for the pacifists.  Kesari tells us, when  you got to fight  you’ve got to  give it your best shot even when  you know the  outcome.  No amount of praise  is  sufficient for the cast. Every one of  the actors playing the  21 Sikh soldiers  seems  to own his part in the way the  girls in Shah Rukh Khan’s hockey team owned  their parts in Chak De.

As  for Akshay Kumar, is  there any doubt that he is today’s finest star-actor  in   Hindi cinema? The restrained passion (evident in his  transformed  body language  and  his propensity to  state  the  truth without demur)  that he brings to  Ishar Singh’s part is sure to  get him the National award this year.I am sure  if Ishar  were be alive he would have  wanted to convey nationalistic valour with the same  muted ruggedness as Akshay  Kumar.

Of course these men who fought the battle  of Saragarhi were spectacularly brave. But the men behind this  film also display exemplary courage and confidence. Kesari is nearly  flawless in its rendition of  a battle of unequals where one man’s obstinacy becomes  a nation’s abiding pride and honour.

Don’t miss this film even  if  you watch only two films a  year.

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