Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A befitting and emotive odeA still from the film.
Movie review: Kesari

A befitting and emotive ode

21 Mar 2019 | 5:10 PM

Film: Kesari

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Govind Namdev, Rajpal Yadav, Vansh Bhardwaj, Mir Sarwar and Jaspreet Singh

Director: Anurag Singh

[ + read story ]

Nonika Singh

Aaj meri pagdi bhi Kesari, jo bahega mera lahu bhi Kesari aur mera jawaab bhi kesari.” That is Kesari for you recounting the Sikh valour in no uncertain terms. 

If one were to sum it up in one line well it is; 21 Sikh soldiers against an army of 10,000 Afghans.

But as Anurag Singh director and co-writer fleshes it out what you get is an engaging take and tale of the famed Battle of Saragarhi. That the battle happened is a verified historical fact.  Much of how it played out could be a figment of imagination which is corroborated by an extended disclaimer.

Indeed, it begins with Akshay Kumar acting as saviour of a woman of the enemy ranks. The opening sequence makes you a tad apprehensive; is this all about superstar Akshay Kumar and his heroics.

Indeed, for quite some time Akshay the star towers over his character. But from the moment he apologises to his senior British officer he melds and melts into the part of Havildar Ishar Singh. 

Ishar is impetuous, brave, just and above all stands for all that epitomises the best in a Sikh.

Till interval, the backdrop to what is being touted as the bravest battle ever fought is set.  How these brave men of the 36 Sikh regiment fought valiantly to the last drop of their blood is the stuff war and legends are made of.

Singh takes you into the period 1897 with just the right attention to detail neither overdoing it nor making any glaring lapses.

His cinematographer captures the landscape aesthetically without letting it get the better of storytelling.  Without a doubt narrative comes strong and emotive. It is loud and melodramatic too but touches an emotive chord nevertheless.

In a brief part Parineeti Chopra too provides the necessary emotive and romantic quotient and in a nearly all-male film, her attractive presence is used effectively.

Though Singh rightly admitted that not all 21 soldiers can be given an equal space, local actors like Vansh Bhardwaj and Suvinder Vicky get ample room and justify their characters with ease. 

Clearly there is more one hero here.  Rather the Sikh community is the hero.

Singh of super hit Punjabi comedy Jatt and Juliet fame too surfaces with doses of the irresistible and irrepressible Punjabi humour. But more than raising a few laughs it tells you about how the warrior race can laugh in the face of adversity and more importantly even when death stares it in the eye.

Sikh ethos and its philosophy come through without the tone turning preachy. Singh does not get into the semantics of his religion, yet its core values pulsate.

If Akshay’s diktat to his pathan cook to serve water to the wounded enemy soldiers appears too dramatic and poetic, we are simultaneously reminded how this is exactly what Bhai Kanahiya did. 

Secularism is Sikhism’s basic tenet too is driven home once again by telling us how a Muslim laid the foundation of the Golden Temple.

The use of the word jehad in communally charged times may make you see red. But soon enough it is established how religion is no more than a card in the hands of the bigoted which need not be of any one particular religious community.

Yes Pathans can be fair too and respect courage when they see it. But make no mistake Kesari is essentially and intrinsically about Sikh pride and honour.

You see it more than once, not just in the well-executed battle scenes where Guru Gobind Singh’s words sawa laakh se ek ladaun come to mind.  Shabads such as Shubh karman te kabhu na taro are used, but sparingly. And when you hear the impassioned Jo bole so nihal you are not only moved but tempted to join the chorus.

A befitting, even if a trifle dramatic, ode to the  soldiers of the Sikh regiment Kesari is a powerful tribute which Sikh nay entire Indian community can forever be proud of.


Unerring craft will keep you grippedMovie Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Unerring craft will keep you gripped

21 Mar 2019 | 5:23 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Cast (Voices): Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller, Cate Blanchett

Director: Dean DeBlois

Curious case of amusement

Curious case of amusement

23 Mar 2019 | 7:33 AMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Mard Ko DardNahi Hota

Cast: Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan, Gulshan Devaiah, Mahesh Manjrekar, Jimit Trivedi

Director: Vasan Bala

A textured and tender frameMovie Review - Photograph

A textured and tender frame

15 Mar 2019 | 8:38 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Photograph

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra

Director: Ritesh Batra

You can laugh your heart outMovie Review - Band Vaaje

You can laugh your heart out

15 Mar 2019 | 8:43 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Band Vaaje

Director: Smeep Kang

Cast: Smeep Kang, Binnu Dhillon, Jaswinder Bhalla, Nirmal Rishi, Mandy Takhar, Gurpreet Ghuggi

Cause and effectMovie Review - Mere Pyare Prime Minister

Cause and effect

15 Mar 2019 | 8:41 PMstarstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Mere Pyare Prime Minister

Cast: Anjali Patil, Makrand Deshpande, Om Kanojiya and Atul Kulkarni

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Imaginative but not exactly thrilling!Movie Review - Wonder Park

Imaginative but not exactly thrilling!

15 Mar 2019 | 8:35 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Wonder Park

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Brianna Denski

Director: Dylan Brown

This revenge is sweetMovie Review - Badla

This revenge is sweet

08 Mar 2019 | 7:00 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Badla

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh, Tony Luke, Manav Kaul,

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Too much to handleMovie Review - Guddiyan Patole

Too much to handle

08 Mar 2019 | 8:14 PMstarstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Guddiyan Patole

Director: Vijay Kumar Arora

Cast: Sonam Bajwa, Nirmal Rishi, Gurnaam Bhullar, Tania

A confusing narrativeMovie Review - Captain Marvel

A confusing narrative

08 Mar 2019 | 7:20 PMstarstarhalfstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Captain Marvel

Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, DeWanda Wise, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law and Gemma Chan

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

It’s heavenlyMovie Review - Made In Heaven

It’s heavenly

08 Mar 2019 | 7:04 PMemptyStaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Made In Heaven

Starring: Arjun Mathur, Shobhita Dhulipala, Kalki Koechlin,
Jim Sarbh, Shashank Arora, Shivani Raghuvanshi

Directed by Nitya Mehra, Zoya Akhtar,
Prashant Nair, Alankrita Shrivastava

  • SpectrumIn the memory of a hero

    In the memory of a hero

    On April 8, 1931, a meeting chaired by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in Amritsar declared that a mela would be held at the spot of cremation of Bhagat Singh and his comrades and that this would be an annual affair.

  • Renaissance, ruins and revival

    “The press is ready.

  • Past’s imprint

    In today’s age of rapid technological changes in communication, postage stamps are vital remnants of a bygone era.

    more Spectrum...