Having grown up watching films like Border, LOC and Bhagat Singh on TV every Independence Day, the patriot in all of us enjoys watching the valor stories of our freedom fighters. Attempting to bring one such untold story is Discovery Jeet’s 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897. The channel that was launched on Monday already has interesting stories like the biopic of Ramdev, an autorickshaw driver’s struggle to save his dying daughter and the rise of rappers in the country among others. Sarfarosh is the story of 21 valiant soldiers, who fought more than 10,000 Afghan intruders to protect their motherland. Starring Mohit Raina as Havildar Ishar Singh, the man who led his army in the battle, the show also brings Mukul Dev back on the small screen as the antagonist Gul Badshah. We recently managed to see the first episode and from the looks of it, the show will definitely keep you hooked, only if the makers manage to retain the quality and make it pacier.
The subject interestingly has caught the attention of creative minds at the same time. While Akshay Kumar is all set to play the lead in Dharma Productions’ Kesari, Randeep Hooda will also enact the same role in Rajkumar Santoshi’s Battle of Saragarhi. As Mohit Raina had mentioned at the launch, being the first to be launched, they will definitely garner more attention. While all three actors look amazing in the look, let’s talk about only Mohit for now. The Kashmir born, who rose to fame playing Lord Shiva in Mahadev, is back on-screen after his not-so-successful outing as Ashoka. Mohit seems to have worked really hard on his dialect and mouths Punjabi quite effortlessly. His powerful entry scene will leave you amazed as it brings him across like a trained soldier, who shoots away his enemy as if it is child’s play. Ishar’s love towards his country will make you emotional, and also bring in a pride that India was blessed with such loyal soldiers. The actor chooses his projects wisely as Sarfarosh will go on to become a milestone in his career graph.
Another actor who managed to make his mark was Mukul Dev. It’s sad that the actor’s potential hasn’t been utilised all this while. As the vicious Gul Badshah, Mukul brings alive the evilness and the strength of a leader amazingly. The actor too has worked hard on his dialogues and speaks in impressive Afghani. The scene where he beheads his own brother to win the confidence of another tribe leader will shake you up. The first episode majorly gave these two stars prominence, and we are yet to witness the other character’s talent. Luke Kenny as Major Des Voeux though didn’t have much to perform in the first episode. We expect his character to gain prominence in the coming days. Also, it’s an interesting move by the makers to have packed in mostly real Punjabis to play the soldiers.
The champion of the show, for us, remains the dialogues. Writer of Lucknow Central and POW: Bandi Yuddh Ke, Aseem Arora has penned the powerful lines, and even has the story to his credits. Be it Mohit Raina’s “Dushman chahe jo bhi ho pith pe vaar nahi karte” or “Hamla hadd pe ho ya sarhad pe, ghode pe ya hathi pe…” and even Mukul winning the “Yakeen ka sikka” killing his brother, these words will remain with you for a long time. Anurag Basu’s younger brother Abhishek Basu is the director of photography, and he has definitely excelled in his job along with director Raj Acharya. The locales are realistic and you seem to get transformed to the 19th century. Produced by Contiloe (Abhimanyu Singh), the makers of shows like Ashoka, Maharana Pratap and Vighnaarta Ganesha among others, you can expect a similar entertaining experience. All we hope is the show pulls up in terms of pace as being a television show, we fear the concept might be dragged long to cover up the expenditure. Overall, the first episode gives a good impression and will get the audience back for the next episodes. The test being, for how long.
21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897 airs Monday-Friday, 9 pm on Discovery Jeet.