Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior Movie Review


The movie, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, is a clichéd CGI clash of good vs evil filled with chants of "Har Har Mahadev" comprising less chivalric characters.

For a change, we witness stoic Ajay Devgn who plays Tanaji Malusure, draped in saffron swinging into the frame with finesse (Yes, with a Super-hero landing) introduced in an adrenaline-filled ambush against the Mughals. 

Our ears automatically resonate with the rousing Singham background/ theme music but without his classic cop car flying, we millennials tune ourselves to the medieval Maratha era war drama.

Bollywood still in awe with the Bahubali flavour of fairy-tale filmmaking continues to pitch out another historical picture based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj’s lieutenant - Tanhaji Malusare. 

Just like a mission impossible moment with an electronic voice going "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to face your fate", our man of action Ajay Devgn accepts his mission of recapturing Kondhana fort from the clutches of the Mughals. 

Easy choice to cast Kajol as Tanhaji’s wife Savitri. No time is wasted to spark a chemistry on-screen reflecting (An actual mirror aiding as a symbol of love here) the familiarity of their real-life relationship. 

Going bad in style is Saif Ali Khan (Udaybhan Rathod in the film) with shades of Ranveer Singh’s Khilji from Padmaavat. Saif sets out on a killing spree right from chopping off an elephant’s trunk in a game of human chess to roasting a crocodile for a midnight snack (New season: Man vs Wild starring Saif?). 

Saif spills some quirky love for Kamal played by Neha Sharma, who is now a widow in his captivity. Branched out as a good context to his villainy arc, however, the thread is left hanging.

The makers fly the saffron flag high with grand visuals, quick-paced action choreography combined with excessive use of visual effects seamlessly blending into the narrative. 

Given that the movie being rendered in 3D, the characters appear largely one-dimensional with no arcs, portraying troubled idealogy and tiresome monologues.

Steering away from analysing the movie with an artistic angle, Tanhaji capitalizes on the national debate of Islamophobia as a hidden layer for its promotional campaign. The film outlines that the only villain worse than a Muslim is a Hindu who works for Muslims. 

Udaybhan along with his Mughal bandwagon are colour-coded black apparels as opposed to the shining saffron of the Marathas (Saffron is not the new black). 

The high volt climactic battle with Tanhaji triumphing over the laws of physics rather than the psychopath Udaybhan serves as the only entertaining element in this slow-paced drama. 

DOP Keiko Nakahara and Editor Dharmendra Sharma create an immersive experience of coordinated action. But too much-digitized deception and too little authenticity make the movie stuffy. 

Amidst the presence of a massive canon called Nagin that is pointed at the fortress of Shivaji Maharaj (Why canon? When Saif can shrill loud enough to topple a man to death). 

Just like a spark initiated to fire the cannon for a ballistic spectacle, the failed ideology of the film vanquishes the ultimate fireworks we expected.

Written by - Deepan R

Edited by - Ivanova

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