Om Raut's Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior ticks all the boxes a period drama needs. And watching it in 3D enhances the thrill of watching the action set-pieces and the locales at the display.
Ajay Devgn in Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
Director: Om Raut
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Saif Ali Khan
Ever since Hindi Cinema has started making period dramas, the filmmakers have always ensured they are driven by grit, grandeur, gorgeousness and some galvanising performances. Om Raut's Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior also ticks all the boxes. And watching it in 3D enhances the thrill of watching the action set-pieces and the locales at the display.
Ajay Devgn's eponymous character gets a fantastic introduction that's accompanied by Sandeep Shirodkar's pulsating score that only elevates his celluloid heroism and bravery. Kajol, as always enigmatic, breathes life into the character of Savitribai Malusare. Her scenes with Devgn are charming and it seems like ages since the real life couple shared such warmth on the big screen.
Another facet that drives historicals in India is the birth of the antagonist. These films base their narratives on the battle between the evil and the righteous, and what follows next is the indefatigable thirst for revenge. Saif Ali Khan plays that character here, that of Udaybhan Rathore, and the actor is clearly having fun, and just like the lead couple's chemistry, this actor also seems to be in the right film after ages.
Saif Ali Khan in a still from Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
However, we get a flashback about his past and what compelled him to turn into a devil but it's done hastily. There's a voiceover which is about to reveal his and his mother's real identity but the scene cuts to his transformation into the villain, and we sense this is a cliffhanger that would be disclosed in the finale, but it doesn't happen. Khan wears his villainy on his sleeves and his face, he's perpetually smiling, even when he's defeated at the hands of the Unsung Warrior.
Devgn has played such characters before, his delivery and gazes have powered films like Gangaajal and The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, which still remain two of his finest works yet. Tanhaji would be a treat for everyone who was missing this avatar of the actor. In many ways, Om Raut, the director, brings the old days back when all the three actors owned the films they were a part of.
Watch the trailer of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
But it's impossible not to think of Bajirao Mastani when Devgn and his warriors chant in unison Har Har Mahadev, or to be reminded of Alauddin Khilji of Padmaavat when Khan breaks into his evil laugh or an amusing dance at his own wedding. The canvas of those films may have been richer in colour and texture, but there's a lot of thrill to be had in Tanhaji too. The climactic battle between Devgn and Khan, and the sequence that precedes it stand out.
This isn't a perfect film, drags its feet at certain places, but coming from the bland battle of Panipat just a month ago, this clash between the Marathas and the Mughals would any day be a better option!