Bollywood has made many films on the heroic tales of brave warriors of India’s medieval and early modern history and the audience has also liked them. Movies made in recent times like Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, Panipat depicted aspects of history that needed to be told to today’s generation. And now this week has been released in theaters, the story of such a Maratha warrior whose valor was hardly known to anyone. Directed by Om Raut, Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan starrer Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior is a historical period drama film releasing this Friday. Will this grand star cast and massive scale film manage to entertain the audience or will it fail in its endeavour? Let’s review.
Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior depicts the heroic saga of one of the great warriors of India. This year is 1664. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (Sharad Kelkar) gave a tough fight to the Mughals in the Deccan region headed by Emperor Aurangzeb (Luke Kenny). However, when things get tough for the Marathas, Shivaji Maharaj decides to sign a treaty. According to this treaty, he handed over 23 forts to the Mughals, including the strategic Kondhana Fort. A few years later, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj expressed his desire to take back Kondhana. This is especially so when he learns that Aurangzeb had sent a rogue military officer Udaybhan Rathod (Saif Ali Khan) to take control of the fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj learns that his brave Subedar Tanaji Malusare (Ajay Devgan) is the best man to get the fort back. But Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj refused to even tell Tanaji about this operation. This is because Tanaji is busy with his son’s wedding. But Tanaji comes to know about the plan. He convinces Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to take over the fort. Maharaj also agrees and puts his son’s marriage on hold. He then starts planning how to recover the fort. What happens next after this, it will be known after watching the rest of the film.
The story of Prakash Kapadia and Om Raut is excellent and well researched. It talks about a historical moment in the history of India and at the same time, it has enough entertainment and drama. Prakash Kapadia and Om Raut’s screenplay does full justice to the plot. The script has been made according to the audience which keeps the interest in the film. The film breaks down a bit in the middle of the second half. Also, there could have been more hard hitting in the first half. Prakash Kapadia’s dialogues are simple but also as sharp as required.
Om Raut’s direction is commendable and he handles the film brilliantly. He does full justice to the scale and grandeur of the film. He keeps the narrative simple and very easy to understand. When it comes to period films, every film of this genre is compared with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film but here the director has set a different dimension and added a lot of spice to the climax which takes the film on a high note. .
Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior begins with Tanaji’s childhood and the background of the Maratha Empire. The film moves very fast here but there is no loss in impact. The entry scene of adult Tanhaji is very good and the audience will welcome it with claps and whistles. Even Udaybhan’s introduction scene is worth watching. From here till the intermission, the film holds, but there is no action and punch in the film. But the intermission point is good and it gives hope that the second half will be good. And thankfully, there’s a lot of entertainment in the latter part of the intermission. The face-off between Tanaji and Udaybhan is spectacular. Tanaji’s request to fight the Maratha soldiers is worth watching. The film then falls apart from here but the makers reserve the best scenes for the finale. The battle of the climax is unbelievable and will be especially exciting for the single screen audience.
Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior is completely Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan’s film. Ajay suits his role well and adds a lot to his character with his body language and gestures. His dialogue delivery while facing off is amazing. He goes to a different level in the battle of the climax and the audience is sure to love it. He certainly deserves appreciation that he has made a cinema that is at par with international standards. Saif Ali Khan looks splendid in the role of the villain. He plays his role well. He gets into the black humor scene in the second half. Kajol (Savitri) doesn’t have much to do but her presence adds a lot to the film. Her scenes with Ajay are lovely. Sharad Kelkar prevails as Shivaji Maharaj. His personality, physique and brilliant voice are perfect for such an important historical character. Padmavati Rao (Rajmata Jija Au) has a stellar screen presence. Luke Kenny fits the role and wishes he had more screen time. Neha Sharma (Kamala) looks good in a supporting role. Kailash Waghmare (Chultia) and Hardik Bharat Sangani (Gidya) are over the top but it works for their respective characters. Other actors include Shashank Mahadev Shende (Shelar Mama), Ajinkya Ramesh Dev (Peaceal), Vipul Kumar Gupta (Jagat Singh), Devdutt Gajanan Kage (Suriyaji), Yuri Suri (Mirza Raje Jai Singh), Nissar Khan (Of course Khan). . Khan), Aarush Nand (Raiba; Tanaji’s son), Prasanna Vidyadhar Ketkar (Ghesarnaik) and Niranjan Jado (Trimbaka Rao; Detective) look good.
The music of the film is situational and not of chartbuster type. ‘Ghamand Kar’ is the theme song of the film and is quite exciting. ‘Shankara Re Shankara’ comes at a great juncture. ‘Maya Bhavani’ is average while ‘Tinak Tinak’ is moving. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score adds new dimensions to the drama.
Keiko Nakakara’s cinematography is of the best quality. Despite so much action and fights, the camerawork stands out and captures every scene perfectly. .. Sujit Subhash Sawant and Sriram Kannan Iyengar’s production design is a nod to the bygone era. The set of the film is authentic and keeping in mind that the film focuses on the lives of Maratha soldiers so how can their homes be so grand, the set is not unnecessarily grand. The designer’s work in depicting Aurangzeb’s house is commendable. Ramzan Bulat and RP Yadav’s action is a bit bloody but controlled and the visuals look good. Vikram Gaikwad’s makeup is neat. The costumes of Nachiket Barve and Mahesh Sherla are realistic. NY VFXWaala’s VFX is superb and there is not a single moment where the effects look weak. In addition, 3D corresponds perfectly with the narrative. Dharmendra Sharma’s editing is clever.
Overall, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is an entertaining and paisa worthy film that will be loved by all sections of the audience including the general public. In terms of box office, this film may bring a storm in Maharashtra and other centres. This film has the potential to become the first 100 crore film of the year 2020. Do see it.