Kesari Reviews (Top Critics)

By Komal Nahta

Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) is an Indian armyman who works for the Britishers who ruled India in 1897. One day, he saves an Afghani girl (Toranj Kayvon) from the Afghanis who are out to kill her. This infuriates the Afghanis so much that they attack India. Consequently, the British officers, as a punishment, transfer Ishar Singh to Saragarhi which has a skeletal army regiment.

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By Mayank Shekhar (3/5)

First off, this might well be actor Akshay Kumar's finest performance ever. And this has much to do with an earthy, true-blue, proud Punjabiness that he exudes in his natural persona that translates so seamlessly on to the big screen; him fitting into the get-up like a glove, as Havildar Ishar Singh, a die-hard, hatta-katta soldier with a sharp disc on his huge turban, belonging to what the British deemed the 'martial race'-born to fight and protect, for community, and honour.

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By Saibal Chatterjee (3/5)

Anurag Singh's Kesari brings to the big screen the famed 1897 Battle of Saragarhi, which witnessed 21 valiant soldiers of the 36 Sikh Regiment take on a 10,000-strong army of Afghan tribesmen in the rugged terrain of what is today Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The film is well mounted and shot. It is impressive in terms of scale. The production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray, the stunt coordination by Lawrence Woodward (Mad Max: Fury Road, Peter Rabbit) and Parvez Shaikh (Tiger Zinda Hai, Sultan, Gold) and the cinematography by Anshul Chobey more than measure up to the film's grand ambition.

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The Indian Express
By Shubhra Gupta (3/5)

How a handful of Sikh soldiers bravely fought thousands of Afghan tribesmen in the 1897 battle of Saragarhi is at the heart of Kesari. With Akshay Kumar playing Havildar Ishar Singh, the valorous Sardar who leads his men from the front, you know that this will be an out and out star vehicle. Which it is: he is in almost every frame, barring a few passages here and there.

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Hindustan Times
By Raja Sen (2/5)

One of history's most stunning last stands, The Battle of Saragarhi featured valour that warrants a legend. On 12 September 1897, a mere twenty one Sikh soldiers defied thousands of Afghan tribesmen attacking the strategic military outpost of Saragarhi in the Khyber Pass. It is something that has not been taught in Indian schools - perhaps because it was about protecting a colonial British Indian outpost from colonised Afghan locals - but the bravery of these men deserves salutation.

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By Priyanka Sinha Jha (4/5)

The trailer of Akshay Kumar starrer Kesari, based on the incidents from Battle of Saragarhi, set the premise straight when Havildar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) says "Bahar kum se kum dus hazaar hain aur hum ekkis" (Outside, they are at least ten thousand of them while we are a mere 21). A Herculean task by any stretch of imagination to win that battle but Singh could have been spelling out the formidable task that lay ahead for the film's writers Anurag Singh and Girish Kohli as they set about encapsulating the Battle of Saragarhi into the dictates of a Hindi film.

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By Bollywood Hungama (4/5)

KESARI is the story of valour and bravery. The year is 1897. Hawaldar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar) is posted somewhere in the present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Sikh regiment. The regiment witnesses a woman about to get killed by a group of Afghan tribesman for not adhering to her marriage. Despite the superior British officer telling him to not get involved, Ishar attacks the Afghans and saves the lady.

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By Sukanya Verma (3/5)

21 Sikh soldiers against 10,000 Afghan tribesman -- it's a staggering statistic and splendid premise for a full-bloodied action film. A feat Kesari not only honours but delivers too if only you'll be patient. The year is 1897 and the guidelines of a Bollywood historical insist on delaying the deed in favour of hackneyed subtext and tedious sentiment.

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By MAYUR SANAP (2.5/5)

Kesari is an action-war film that narrates the story of the events leading to the Battle of Saragarhi. It is hailed as the second bravest battle ever in world history - which makes you realize the ambitious scale of the subject. Kesari draws upon the history of the Battle of Saragarhi which was fought in the year 1897 between 21 valiant Sikh soldiers and around 10,000 Afghans.

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By Urmimala Banerjee (3/5)

It is a tribute to the Battle of Saragarhi hailed as one of the most valiant battles fought in pre-Independence India. The Indian Army celebrates the day till date. We see Havildar Ishar Singh who considers himself as a soldier and not a servant of the British Raj. A trangression of orders lead to his transfer to Saragarhi, a fort only using as a means of correspondence. He lands there and wins the respect of the 21 soldiers. Within days, they have to fight the invaders who want to conquer forts Lockhart and Gulistan.

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By Vishal Verma (4/5)

A dramatized account of one of the most heroic battle of honor -The Battle of Saragarhi where 21 Sikh soldiers fought against an Afghan army of 10000 men in the year 1897.

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By Devesh Sharma (3.5/5)

Kesari is a fictionalised account of the legendary Battle Of Saragarhi where 21 soldiers of the 36 Sikh Regiment stood out the wrath of ten thousand Afghan tribals on 12 September 1897 and didn't let them conquer the Saragarhi fort till the evening. The original plan of the tribals was to capture the nearby forts, Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan as well on the same day. The sacrifice by the 21 bravehearts delayed their plans and those two forts didn't get captured.

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By Meena Iyer (4.5/5)

Based on the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi, the film revisits the historic saga of the bravery of the 36th regiment that had 21 Sikh soldiers. Its leader, Havildar Ishar Singh (Akshay Kumar), inspires his battalion to prevent the invaders - an army of 10,000 Afghans - from taking control of the fort of Saragarhi, the main communication point to Gulistan and Lockhart, two other forts in Northern India, then under the British rule.

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By Rahul Desai (0.5/5)

At one point in Kesari, two cultures are at the brink of war. One of them - let's call them the bad guys - presents a frontline of drum-beating kohl-eyed soldiers. This is their war cry. In response, the other - let's call them the good guys - presents their turbaned leader on top of the fort. He single-handedly drowns out the drum-beating enemies by whipping out a dholak and letting it rip.

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By Nandini Ramnath (2/5)

Anurag Singh's Kesari features a proto-freedom fighter taking on a proto-Taliban force in a skirmish that is post-300. Zack Snyder's 2006 Hollywood movie, about the battle between 300 Spartans and a vastly bigger Persian army, leaves its bloody imprint on the combat sequences in Kesari, but the legend that inspired Kesari comes from a source closer home - the Battle of Saragarhi waged between 21 Sikh soldiers and thousands of Afghan tribesman on September 12, 1897.

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Taran Adarsh
By Taran Adarsh (4/5)

One Word Review... Kesari: OUTSTANDING! Chronicles a significant chapter from history brilliantly... Nationalism, patriotism, heroism, scale and soul - #Kesari has it all... Akshay's career-best act... Anurag Singh's direction terrific... Don't miss!

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The Times Of India
By Rachit Gupta (4/5)

The Battle of Saragarhi is considered to be one of the most inspiring stories of human valour and bravery, not just in India, but the world over. Director Anurag Singh's film Kesari is a fitting tribute to this story of Sikh soldiers. It's a compelling war drama that combines strong emotions with blood-soaked action and retells an important chapter from the annals of Indian history. The film's best moments are fuelled by a towering performance by Akshay Kumar.

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By Samrudhi Ghosh (3/5)

Despite being one of the fiercest last stands ever, the Battle of Saragarhi is lost somewhere in the annals of history. In Kesari, director Anurag Singh brings alive on celluloid the incredible story of 21 Sikh soldiers fighting valiantly against 10,000 Afghan troops. Though the audience knows how it will end, the way the filmmaker tells this tale is worth a watch.

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