Taking the bait that the entire intrigue and acclaim around recently released movie Kesari had sprawled, I went in expecting a grandeur of visual excellence to come my way since the theme of the movie was a leaf out of a legend, The battle of Saraghari, one that scribbled it’s forgotten mark in one of the earliest voices of freedom that tore the tarp of suppression. But it touched me much beyond that and a gust of beautiful emotions that I root for, welcomed me off guard.
The short lived moments of tender love between the protagonist, Havaldar Ishar Singh and his deceased wife, Jeevani Kour, whom he fondly remembers in only in flashback conversations, infused into me a jovial relief when keeping eyes glued to screen seemed afflicting. This interlaced with painful realisation of what separation implies to a soldier and I strived to hold back the gush of tears in my eyes. As he braces to step into the battlefield, she appears in her charm, grumbling about his mother and yet with a heavy heart, conscious of his improbable return, she affirms she doesn’t ever want to see him flinch.
Subtle emotions breezed into my consciousness again with the scenes when the soldier sikhs help the localites in building a mosque. An old Afghan woman with a staggering gait, stooped spine and a smile effusing happiness walks over to them and out of her love and blessings, places in their hands an ort of almond; purity and richness of love encased within it. This visual, in particular, incited tears staggering in the arrest of my eyes to sail in the airs of liberation. My memories were painted with rejuvenation as I recalled several moments when on birthdays and celebratory occasions, amidst all lavish, a beautiful 10-rupees note from my grandmother’s little purse tucked close to her bosom, was what my palms awaited at the settling dusk of the day.
Thirdly, the visuals glared to me in the light of mustering the wounded sentiments to roar for the freedom of expression. The theme boils down to this core notion. The turbulent battle ensues an incident when the protagonist chooses to hold his values above the dictatorial commands of his British Army officer and follows his heart to save a woman left at the mercy of a mob. It’s the same fight for freedom of expression that he wishes would someday metamorphose into a struggle for freedom and liberation from colonial power.
Kesari, a colour that in the literal sense is an emblem of sacrifice, glossed over my mind a myriad of colours in it’s magnificent depiction on the screen, each with varied and deep emotions. The colour flows through the veins of the slain soldiers and trickles in the splashes of water wounded men are humanely helped with. Besides annealing the respect for a legend, it filled my senses with a breath of freedom and kindled the spark to cherish it again!