wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?) - covers the rugged, arid terrain beautifully though!

quick review:

So much action that it makes you go numb, even though it is slick, choreographed and shot very well. Anyway, a story of great bravery in times of war, glamourising killing by taking lives in style, seems overdone.

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Director: Anurag Singh
Running time: 147 minutes
Genres: Action, Patriotism, War
More Movie Info

Kesari - Preview

When an actor becomes a brand, you might have the newest and most distinguishable story at your disposal, but the film seems the more of the same. In this instance, more of the same valour, more of the same machismo, more of the same dialogue delivery. And it is indeed becoming tiring.

In fact, except for the fact that a different war-time story is being narrated, the war scenes, the war cries, are all just way too familiar to be intriguing. Not to miss the adulating woman in the house. The only hope then is that we will know the details of the strategising and the non-war parts of the story.

Kesari releases on 21 March 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

If I think of Kesari a few months from now, the first thing I will remember is the panoramic coverage of the unique terrain. Not the war, not the bravery, not Akshay Kumar’s beard, just the beauty of the barren, dusty mountains. Ok and maybe the gruesome action too.

A simple story of single-minded bravery. The kind of bravery that reminds you of the other title released this week, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (men don’t feel pain.)

Sure, there are a few other things to appreciate in Kesari. Unlike other Akshay Kumar films, for instance, it is not all Akshay Kumar and his character. There is some room given to the other brave soldiers both in terms of their characters getting screen space and the actors getting a chance to show their talent. There are complete sequences without Akshay Kumar, especially in the second half and they work well.

Other than these small mercies though, the narrative is pretty straightforward and predictable. Except for a couple of insightful one-liners about the business of religion, which subtly pass by, the dialogue is as standard as it gets. In fact, you can pretty much predict when there is going to be a war cry or thumping music or the camera is going to go slo-mo on you.

There is no room for women in such movies except to bring a visual change of scene or to separate the good men from the bad ones. In a way, I am thankful that the women have a minimal role to play here instead of forcibly increasing their count. For instance, the forced humour doesn’t work at all, neither does the sudden mention of ‘wind direction’ as a logical explanation amidst all the gravity-defying action.

Which is all very cool to look at. It is choreographed well, photographed well and executed reasonably well too. This action doesn’t need too many acting chops and whatever is required of Akshay Kumar is ably masked by his beard.

The rest of the actors do well too, especially in the long drawn climax. But this is despite the writing. When it is 21 against 10,000 in a war, the shock at every single death of the 21 seems overdone. Of course, some of it has been over-dramatised and made extra gruesome because, by the time the climax comes around, you have seen so much of war that you are desensitised to death and wholly distanced from the action.

Even if you overlook the Sikh-Muslim, white-brown religious and racist overtones because it was set over 100 years ago and people were what they were and might have had reasons for being so, the chest-thumping and pandering to war-hunger is disturbing. As it always is.

Other than these small mercies though, the narrative is pretty straightforward and predictable.

But if we were to judge the movie for just what it is, you will get what you would expect to. A simple story of single-minded bravery. The kind of bravery that reminds you of the other title released this week, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (men don’t feel pain.)

- meeta, a part of the audience

42 reviewers(?) - 18 yays 14 so-so 10 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Don’t miss this film even if you watch only two films a year.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, KESARI is a brave and inspirational tale of courage and patriotism with the dramatic battle sequence as its USP. At the box office, it will be loved by the classes as well as the masses while the four-day weekend will prove beneficial for the makers. Recommended!... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, DNA : ...Verdict: Don’t miss Kesari. It not only makes us feel proud of being Indians but also prompts us to salute the valour of our Sikh community.... full review

Thumbs up, Filmfare : ...Akshay Kumar is verily the soul of the film. His bearing, his mannerisms are totally that of a professional soldier. The way he goes about winning over the men of his command post and later rallies their morale all feels heroic to the extreme. His sincerity oozes through in those scenes. The rest of the cast, consisting of actors hailing from the Punjabi industry, too make you feel you're watching a band of brothers. Having a no-name cast supporting the lead was a risk which has paid off as they become synonymous with the unknown brave souls of long ago, who died fighting in one of the most gallant battles ever fought...... full review

Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Anshul Chobey’s cinematography basically sets out to create portraits of these great icons of Sikh history and he does so with resplendent authority. This film may have limited claims to authenticity and historical accuracy but even so it manages to put up a commanding battle for likeability and the credit must truly go to the leading players (especially Akshay) who showcase their sincerity and conviction with overwhelming authority!... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, : ...KESARI sees Akshay Kumar in a roaring, boisterous avatar that is bound to make his fans dance with joy and audience in general happy. This epic war action is not just an entertainer its one of those rare stories of unparallel courage, bravery and honour that teaches some lessons on humanity and the true meaning of war and sacrifice. We have seen many movies on nationalisms, KESARI is above nationality, it’s about the virtues of a good human, what makes a good warrior and how determination can achieve the impossible.... full review

Thumbs up, by Samrudhi Ghosh, india today : ...Kesari is the rousing patriotic film that Akshay Kumar fans wait for all year round. But it is a lot more than just that and deserves a watch this Holi.... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...Cinematographer Anshul Choubey’s work is also first-rate, the sweep of the camera encompassing the epic story’s action-packed sequences. Manish More’s editing is deft, sometimes even abrupt, and it is clear that some stretched element in the first half is on the director’s say-so.... full review

Thumbs up, indiaglitz : ...Verdict: Overall, Kesari is a little predictable knowing what the film's ending would be even before you step in, still the lead up to the film is spectacular; thanks to Akshay's brilliant energy and some jaw dropping action sequences.... full review

Thumbs up, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...Kesari might be an account of unsung heroes who have never been introduced to us through our history books, but it is a story that needs to be watched. Inspite of the film's predictable arc, Akshay Kumar solely lifts the film with his determination and promises an entertainer.... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Kesari is a brave depiction of courage. Akshay Kumar’s streak on delivering memorable performances is not ending anytime soon. Watch it get entertained, informed and emotional at the same time.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Another challenge with dramatising an episode from history is furnishing sequences that lead up to the film’s significant turn. Sticking to tropes, one can always delve into back stories to sensitise if not entirely involve one in the lives of those concerned. And while this one spends the first half doing just that, it strays away from the JP Dutta brand of heightened patriotism. Of course, there’s some chest-thumping from time to time, but the characters don’t literally roll in dharti maa to prove it.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...But for all its flaws, Kesari has enough self-sustaining fire to be a well-above-average film. And with Akshay Kumar doing the heavy lifting with unwavering enthusiasm, the star's fans will find it easy to get into the swing of this tale of extraordinary courage in the face of daunting adversity.... full review

Thumbs up, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, : ...Akshay Kumar, shoulders the burden of pulling off this masterful telling of a folk tale with the suitable ease. He is gentle, authoritative, comic, sensitive and of course a fierce warrior all rolled in one and Kumar pulls each off with just the suitable degree of dramatic restraint.... full review

Thumbs up, by Joginder Tuteja, Planet Bollywood : ...Add to that an excellent act by Akshay Kumar and you are bound to highly recommend the film to others as well. A must watch!... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Once the battle gets rolling, Kesari jumps into high-octane mode. Though heavily outnumbered, the rifle-ready soldiers assume their positions to guard the fort swarmed by opponents.... full review

Thumbs up, Times Now : ...Overall, Kesari is an emotional action fest that will resonate with those who love action films and with Akshay Kumar fans. It may not be the best patriotic film (or an action film) to come out of Bollywood but it surely is worth your time and money.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...With technical brilliance, intricate writing and thundering performances, Kesari is a loud war cry that evokes strong feelings of patriotism and it also wrenches your heart with its climactic tragedy. The visceral power of its visuals and emotions is staggering.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...In short, this is writer-director Anurag Singh’s highly fictionalized account of the events intentionally titled KESARI, in which he willfully focuses more on the Sikh identity of the soldiers instead of the other way round. As a commercial product this strategy will surely work finding big number of takers both within the country and abroad suiting the present scenario.... full review

So-So, by Urmilmala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Kesari might not be a great war epic but is a well intentioned effort to acquaint young people with the valour, courage and nationalism of the Sikhs. It also talks about humanity. The film is a one time watch.... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...For their valour and sacrifice, the regiment was honoured by the British, and gurudwaras built in their name in Punjab. What they did was indeed great, even though it was for the benefit of the colonizers. The film is well shot, the battle sequences edge-of-the-seat, but it also follows the clichéd trope of glorifying war as a means of determining true manhood. The liberal dash of patriotism catches the current mood, but really, when peace is the need of the hour, it’s time to reassess the narrative.... full review

So-So, by Suparna Sharma, Deccan Chronicle : ...Akshay Kumar as the brave, deft, agile, skilled, passionate Sikh soldier is excellent. But all this is powered by his pride in his pagri. He uses his cuteness to endear himself to us, and his romance with Parineeti is quite sweet. He carries the film with his charming confidence, but also on the zeitgeist of our times.... full review

So-So, by Mayur Sanap, Deccan Chronicle : ...Throughout the entire runtime, Kesari feels like it's going to provide something bigger, something grander. By the time this moment finally begins pouring out, we're greeted with the end credits. Much like the attempts at creating great and memorable action scenes, payoff is clearly of little concern to the director and screenwriters. Style stomps over substance here, as does placidity to style.... full review

So-So, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...While Akshay Kumar's Kesari has its intentions in the right place, it's the dull writing which makes it lose half the battle. Read more at: full review

So-So, by T J Reddy, : ...If none of these overly-indulgent philosophical readings concern you, we suggest following the star. That man in the saffron turban that stands out in the dusty battlefield, follow that man. He's the hero. He's in the right, and hopefully he does right by you as he has done with everyone else in his life.... full review

So-So, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...Overall, ‘Kesari’ is a story of undiluted heroism, but too much goodness can get a tad boring. Watch it if you like chest-thumping films about brave soldiers.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Finally, despite its predictable arcs, the outcome which we already know, stretched-out length, and clear alignment with the nationalistic mood of the nation, we stay with the film.... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Maybe there's more to the battle. Or maybe this in-your-face, goose-bumpy ride—heartwarming, because its history; and hysterical, because it's that kinda movie—is just the best one can do. Well, either way, this works alright.... full review

So-So, by Pankhurie mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...Kesari is not a bad film, only that I expected much more from it. B... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...The movie is at its most engaging in the battle sequences, which are vividly staged by Anurag Singh and lensed by Anshul Choubey. They produce moments of inspiration, including the suggestion that Isher Singh pioneered the telescopic rifle and a cross-dressing bejewelled sniper.... full review

So-So, by Troy Ribeiro, Sify Movies : ...Overall, Kesari with its meandering pace, formulaic staging and forced patriotic messages fails to touch you emotionally.... full review

So-So, Zee News : ...On the technical front, the director has carelessly overlooked many frames that would hold the viewers' interest. Among those are the frames during the battle, when the brave Sikh soldiers in their anxious moments are clutching their guns, ready to fire. While aiming, their fingers are off the trigger -- these shots appear as juvenile poses.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Three hours after the press show, I’m yet to regain my senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing and full eyesight. If I were a character in the film, there would have been eight bullets in me by now but I’d still be writing. And milking my last line. So I’m going to be as polite and restrained as possible here. The only way Kesari could have done justice to its source material is if it didn’t exist.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Irrespective of what the 36th Sikhs' actual motivations were, obviously theirs was a historic last stand worthy of a film. When an honest army procedural could have had an impact, the team of Kesari chose instead to be a barely disguised propaganda vehicle and to chronicle this remarkable episode with self-defeating twists. A spot of exaggeration here and there could of course be explained away as cinematic licence, even the loudness and initial tempo could have been excused, but this goes way beyond that. It is as if Team Kesari were dissatisfied with the truth about the 36th Sikh Regiment who, ironically, they seek here to lionise.... full review

Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Hindustan Times : ...Kumar leaps about well and does his best Sunny Deol impression — or the best he can manage from behind a distractingly fake beard. The other soldiers appear more authentic, most of them caring enough about the film to leave their hair long and actually grow their beards, but they haven’t been given as much to do besides rally behind Kumar The Unbeatable.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...But the film’s visual grammar reveals its politics and the politics are woefully troubling ― this is an exploitative drama that cashes in on an existing populist sentiment at a time when we should be containing the hate, not fuelling it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Singh shoots most of the action cleanly and without pretension. But there’s no variation, just a series of gory shootings and stabbings, and the effect is numbing instead of visceral.... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now : ...The final battle to the death is worth the watch, but when you see religion, patriotism, propaganda and soldiering mix in a movie timed for release during elections in India, you want to cringe but that would be politically incorrect. But honestly, the first hour and a half they need to set up the film is as dull and dry as the setting of the film... full review

Thumbs down, Outlook India : ...The music seamlessly meshes into the narrative. The song that plays in the last act does make you feel sad for the soldiers.... full review

Thumbs down, by SHILPA JAMKHANDIKAR, Reuters : ...A period war film is not easy to pull off, but “Kesari” falters mainly because it spends too much time talking about war and bravery instead of showing it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...All that has stayed on with me is the landscape—the brown, arid earth pitted against the majesty of the snow-laden, silver mountains. If only panoramic settings could make a good film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Karan Bali, Upper Stall : ...While Kesari fails on the filmmaking front, the largely prevalent mood of the country just before the General Elections in April, May later this year just might provide it the big boost it needs to score at the box office. The first three days’ domestic collections in excess of 55 crore nett. certainly seem to indicate so. So in that’s sense the film has done all it set out to do as far as its makers and leading man are concerned and nothing else matters. After all, isn’t box office king?! Did someone say content? Really?... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 2 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Lyricsmirchi : 99

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Vaibhav : Fabulous movie

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Raj

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and loads. Some of it quite gruesome too
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: War-time bravery
  • General Look and Feel: Rugged, arid terrain in the Afghan region beautifully captured.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (2)

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(smiles), times are not far when in name of patriotic religious fervor we will find women indulge in gory violence in name of "empowerment" and "equality".. Mercifully... spared..!

This movie is must watch
Fabulous movie

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