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Anurag Singh wrote the script and directed the war movie Kesari, which was released in 2019 in India. Under the auspices of Dharma Productions, Cape of Good Films, Azure Entertainment, and Zee Studios, it was co-produced by Aruna Bhatia, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta, and Sunir Khetarpal. The movie has Vikram Singh Chauhan, Sarwar, Vansh Bhardwaj, Jaspreet Singh, Vivek Saini, Vikram Kochhar, and Rakesh Sharma in supporting parts in addition to Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in the key roles. The Battle of Saragarhi, fought in 1897 between 21 members of the 36th Sikhs of the British Indian Army and 10,000 members of the Afridi and Orakzai Pashtun tribes, is chronicled in this movie.
Ishar Singh, a havildar in the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army, is the main character of the tale. He reports to a bigoted British officer who believes that all Indians are cowards and who is envious of Ishar Singh's better combat abilities.
The regiment is stationed at Gulistan Fort, which is situated where Afghan and British-controlled land meets. A newlywed Afghan woman who has been picked by her family against her will to be her husband is once on the point of being killed by a bunch of Afghan tribesmen led by one Saidullah while the military are on a border patrol. Because she is an Afghan resident and does not live in British territory, the British officer declines to step in and save woman for two reasons: first, it is a family matter involving tribal custom, and the British Raj policy is to not interfere in such matters. Second, she does not reside in the British Territory. Ishar Singh goes against his officer's orders and steps in to beat off the tribesmen and rescue the woman by murdering her husband, defying his commanding officer in the process.
The British officer informs his commanding commander, who is seated at the neighbouring Lockhart fort, about Ishar Singh's defiance and insubordination in a forceful report once the men return to Gulistan fort. Soon after, the Afghans launch an assault on the Gulistan fort under British control, but Ishar Singh repels them with heroic fighting, killing a large number of Afghans. However, Ishar Singh is held accountable by his superiors for the events that led to the breakdown of the truce with the Afghans. He receives a punishment relocation to the fort of Saragarhi, which is situated between the forts of Gulistan and Lockhart and allows for contact between them.
Ishar Singh arrives the Saragarhi fort as required. When he gets there, he discovers the squad in disarray. He punishes everyone by making them go without meals for a week in order to instil discipline. The men are first indignant, but after learning that Ishar Singh was also going without food, they start to appreciate him. Saidullah, in the meantime, organises a coalition of Afghan tribes and inspires them to launch a coordinated assault on British territory. In search of their insider who hadn't checked in with them in more than three days, Ishar Singh and Lal Singh travel to a neighbouring village.
When he notices the Afghan Forces heading on Sargarhi, British Commanding Officer Col. John Haughton from Lockhart Fort warns Ishar. Around ten thousand tribesmen are around the fort when Ishar and his army arrive. Ishar Singh had earlier saved the woman, but Saidullah kills her outside the Saragarhi Fort with the support of the entire Afghan army. Ishar Singh with his troops stand and fight till the very end in defiance of the superior officer's instructions to leave the fort and flee. Ishar Singh positions his force for deployment. Khuda Daad offers to fight, but Ishar Singh requests that he give the wounded men some water instead.
Bhagwan Singh is the first casualty of the conflict, which is started by the Afghans. Due to Gurmukh Singh's inexperience, Ishar Singh instructs him to inform the Commanding Officer of the battle's developments. Ishar Singh then chooses to prolong the war to stop the Afghans from approaching the Gulistan and Lockhart forts. Lal Singh, fighting by himself against the Afghans outside of the fort while the conflict rages on, is killed while requesting that one of the sepoys seal the fort's gate. The Afghans use explosives in the meantime to successfully demolish the fort's back wall.
After taking off his stripes and beginning to battle the Afghans with a red-hot sword, Ishar Singh remembers his spouse Jeevani for the last time before being mortally stabbed. After killing Khuda Daad, Saidullah attempts to take off his turban but is fatally stabbed by Ishar. An Afghan commander is moved by Ishar's bravery and instructs his troops not to remove any Sikh's turban. Gul Badshah, one of the Afghan chieftains, directs the signal station to be lighted so Gurmukh Singh's agonising screams might be heard as solace. Gurmukh Singh comes with his body on flames as the Afghans set the outpost on fire. He takes Gul Badshah and detonates the grenades while chanting "Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akaal" three times.
Both of the surrounding forts are heard after the cry echoes. The nearby Sikh soldiers begin praying in the name of their Guru as well. The Afghans who are still alive rob the fort before setting it ablaze. The highest honour an Indian soldier might obtain for valour is the British Order of Merit, which is presented posthumously to those who have died in battle.
Kesari released on Holi 2019 and was received well by the critics and audience. The critics praised the movie's screenplay, storytelling, visuals and fight sequences. It was a box office hit, earning a gross total of around INR 207 Crore through the entirety of its run.
|Music By||Tanishk Bagchi, Jasleen Royal|
|Production Company||Dharma Productions, Zee Studios, Cape of Good Films, Azure E|
|Start Date||21 Mar 2019|
|Content Location||Wai, Maharashtra|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Producer||Aruna Bhatia, Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Sunir Khetarpal|
|Kesari Character names||Kesari Actors real names|
|Ishar Singh||Akshay Kumar|
|Jeevani Kaur||Parineeti Chopra|
|Khan Masud||Mir Sarwar|
|Sepoy Gulab Singh||Vikram Kochhar|
|Gul Badshah Khan||Ashwath Bhatt|