Research is vital to any biopic or retelling of a historical event. For the upcoming film Kesari (2019), director Anurag Singh had limited research material for reference and was helped by Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Kesari is the real-life story based on the forgotten and heroic battle of Saragarhi in 1897, where 21 Sikh men fought against an Afghan army of over 10,000. It features Akshay Kumar as Havildar Ishar Singh in the lead role.
“We basically Googled about this incident. We got a lot from Google research. There is not much literature available on this subject. [There are] a couple of books penned by British officers then. There is a book in Punjabi that was given to us. Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, who is also an armyman, provided us with a book. We went through these books just to get a feel of that period. We also held a few discussions with army officers,” said director Anurag at the launch of the song ‘Teri Mitti’ last week.
Akshay, Parineeti Chopra and producer Karan Johar were also present at the song launch.
When Akshay was asked about the research for his character and look, he passed the microphone to director Anurag.
“This look has been derived from historical references. Earlier, Sikhs wore a big turban. With time, the turbans have become smaller in size. We had certain pictures of soldiers then and books available for research. You don’t find too many references, so we went by what was available,” said Anurag.