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‘All of us know about 300, it’s time we knew about the Battle of Saragarhi': Akshay Kumar

Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar is getting ready for the release of his period action film, Kesari, which is based on the Battle of Saragarhi.

Making a reference to the 2006 Hollywood superhit 300, which also belonged to the same genre, he says, “We know about the Gerard Butler-starrer. But each of us (especially Indians) should also make it a point to know about the 1897 battle.” It was the second of the five bravest wars ever fought in our history.

What is 300 about? Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel by the same name, 300 is a retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to death against Persian ‘God-King’ Xerxes and his army of more than 3,00,000 soldiers.

Akshay says, “I feel extremely lucky that I’ve got an opportunity to be an actor, do such a film (like Kesari) and show it to people, so they can understand. I would like children, students and the youth to watch it, so they can learn about the history as well as the bravery of our soldiers and what happened in the Battle of Saragarhi, which took place on September 12, 1897. Twenty one Sikh soldiers fought against thousands of Afghans. The battle started at about 9 am and went on till about 6.30 pm.”

The actor-producer informs that there were three forts, of which Saragarhi was one. “It was used as a point to send and receive messages, like a communication centre of that time. Then there was also the border, which was not very far from it. The Afghans wanted to come in quickly and take over India. They thought they would capture Saragarhi in no time, before the British Army and the other Sikh soldiers would hear of it and come in as reinforcements. The invaders presumed they would finish the 21 Sikh soldiers in half an hour or so, but the battle was fought all day. Consequently, the other forces got to know and came in,” he concludes.

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