Director: Abhishek Singh
Cast: Akshay Kumar as Havaldar Ishar Singh, Parineeti Chopra as Jeevani Kaur (Ishar's wife), Rakesh Chaturvedi Om as Saidullah, Vivek Saini as Sep. Jiwan Singh, and Vivek Saini as Sep. Jiwan Singh.
Kesari tells the story of the legendary Battle of Saragarhi and how a group of 21 Sikh soldiers stalled the onslaught of Afghan Afridi and Orakzai tribesmen. Havaldar Ishar Singh received punishment for disobeying his superiors and was transferred to the fort of Saragarhi. The Saragarhi fort sits between Gulistan and Lockhart fort and acts as a communication bridge between those crucial forts.
Ishar Singh is humiliated when he is taking the orders from the commander who called Indian cowards and that's why the British are able to rule them. A furious Ishar Singh maintains silence and moves towards Saragarhi fort. The incident that led to his punishment was the saving of a married woman who was about to be killed by Afghans on the other side of the border. The woman he had rescued earlier gives him some sweets as a token of gratitude.
When Ishar Singh reaches Saragarhi, he finds that the troop there was a mess. He imparts discipline among them and also helps a nearby villager build a mosque with the help of his soldiers. This leads him to gain respect from his soldiers as well as the villagers. The same Mullah who was trying to mob lynching the woman whom Ishar Singh saved motivates the Afghans to attack Indian territories.
A 10,000 strong Afghans attack Saragarhi. When alerted by the British officers from Lockhart Fort, Ishar Singh motivates his soldiers from the 36th Sikh regiment to fight against the odds. What happens later became a legend in British India history and even commemorated by even the British on 12 September every year.
Kesari received mostly positive reviews and went on to become a big hit at the box office. Akshay Kumar's performance as Havaldar Ishar Singh received high acclaim and Rakesh Chaturvedi Om's performance as the lead antagonist was praised. The movie went on to register the biggest opening day gross in 2019 at that time and remains the biggest hit in Akshay Kumar's career in Bollywood. Kesari also won Pycker India's Best Movie of the Week during its release.