The colour to look out for this Holi is Saffron. Or Kesari – the colour of valour. And it’s nowhere more prominent than in the 1.5 kilo turban that Akshay Kumar wears in the period war drama Kesari that releases on March 21. Karan Johar proudly released its trailer this afternoon at the Dharma Productions office in the presence of the film’s superstar hero Akshay and its director Anurag Singh. The co-producers of the film, including Cape of Good Films, Azure Entertainment and Zee Studios, are so proud of the finished product that they modified their logos in the credits to have a battle-scarred look.
It’s a gritty film on the Battle of Saragarhi that was fought on September 12, 1897 between 21 brave Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army’s 36th Sikh Regiment and 10,000 invading Pashtun Orakzal tribesmen from the North-West Frontier Province. As may be imagined, the action is bloody; a fierce battle fearlessly and brutally fought over a day between the heavily outnumbered Sikh patriots and the barbaric invaders.
[caption id="attachment_196628" align="aligncenter" width="647"] A picture of Akshay Kumar from Kesari sets[/caption]
Akshay, who trained exhaustively for the fights scenes, excels in the action with outstanding swordsmanship and exceptional marksmanship. The actor, perhaps for the first time in his action-packed and exciting career, will be seen from start to finish in just one look in the film: it’s the turbaned and bearded look over his army khaki. “The entire film’s only a two-day story,” Akshay said, explaining the look. “On the first day the Sikhs arrive at Saragarhi and on the second day the army post is attacked by the Afghani tribesmen.”
Karan, who’s got an exciting slate of Dharma films to look forward to in 2019, said he’s pleased with how Kesari has turned out. “It’s looking really good and is going to be the first big film of the year,” KJo said after the trailer launch, adding. “First time Akshay’s doing a role like this, he’s really good in Kesari.” And Akshay will undoubtedly be; he’s got the craggy appearance and stony look of a soldier used to surviving the odds, but also the courage to be humorous when staring death in the face.” There’s a fleeting glimpse of Parineeti Chopra, the female lead in Kesari, to raise hope of there being moments of romance in the two-day action drama.
Director Anurag explained that while there are many warlords among the 10,000 invading Afghani tribesmen who attack the Saragarhi army post, there’s no one baddie in particular. “The main villain is ideology,” Anurag said mysteriously. The canvas of the film is as stark as it is awe-inspiring, the heat of the battlefield will make you sweat, and the severe cold of the hilly terrain will chill your bones.” And the true story of the Battle of Saragarhi, 21 fearless Sikh soldiers cleverly fighting 10,000 invaders with rifles, swords and bare hands, will inspire you.
Could comparisons be drawn with Zack Snyder’s 2007 Hollywood period war film 300 in which Gerard Butler as King Leonidas leads 300 Spartans into battle against Persian God-King Xerxes (played by Rodrigo Santoro) and his invading army of 300,000 soldiers? “No,” said Akshay, “that’s a fictionalized story based on a comic series whereas Kesari is a true story.” And that’s true.