In his upcoming film Kesari, Akshay Kumar plays the role of Havildar Ishar Singh, who participated in the Battle of Saragarhi (in which an army of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Afghans in 1897). Being a Sikh character, Akshay had to sport a turban in the film. Interestingly, this turban weighed 6 kilogram.
Talking about the turban, Sheetal Sharma, the costume designer of the film, said, “This turban was tied using 18-metre-long cloth. It’s a special turban. It was quite robust and protected the head of Ishar Singh during wars. It acts like a helmet as even a bullet cannot pass through it.”
What also added to the weight of turban is water and a metal ring. “We shot the film in Wai, Maharashtra, and the heat was intense. So, we used to spray water on the turban to keep it cool. That apart, if you see the picture, his turban has a metal ring. It’s called a chakra, which holds the turban in place. Also, it acts like a weapon during crisis situation. The edges of the ring are so sharp that it can cut someone’s wrist or stomach,” she added.
With the 18-metere cloth, the team would have a hard time tying it in the confines of a vanity van. “Akshay being an early riser, he would come on the sets at 4am sharp. So, we had to be ready at 3.30am. We would sit under a tent, instead of his vanity van and begin the process. The cloth is too long and it required two people to tie the turban. A vanity van would be too congested for the same. It would take us one hour and fifteen minutes to finish the process,” said Sheetal.
Once, Akshay made the entire crew to wear the turban as he wanted everyone to understand how the soldiers fought wearing such a huge and heavy headgear. “During action scenes where Akshay had to jump, slide, etc, he found it difficult to shoot wearing the turban, but ultimately he did it,” Sheetal added.
(Story by Onkar Kulkarni)