Verdict: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a magnificent visual spectacle best enjoyed in 3D.

Historical films in Bollywood are now very trope-heavy. They aim to glorify our martyred heroes by reviving them through Bollywood’s biggest superstars, be it Kangana, Shahid, Arjun, or the latest to enter into the fray – Ajay Devgn. Villains in these films are also depicted in typical fashions – pseudo psychopaths who always wear black. Om Raut’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior follows similar tropes to narrate the story of the Maratha warrior Tanhaji Malusare. We have heard or read about the famous battle that hailed Tanhaji as a war hero. Even Shivaji considered him his right-hand man and now we finally get to see his legacy revived on the big screen.

What’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior About: 

Since he was a child, Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgn) had one dream – freedom for his land. He joined the ranks of Shivaji Maharaj (Sharad Kelkar) and soon became his bravest and most trusted warrior. Thus, when Shivaji planned to recapture the Kondhana fort from the Mughals, Tanhaji would be his go-to man, only Tanhaji himself was occupied with his son’s impending wedding. But duty came before family for Tanhaji and he made a promise to his king that he would win back the fort. The Mughals, meanwhile, had gifted Kondhana to their loyal Rajput servant Udaybhan Rathod (Saif Ali Khan). Tanhaji’s might clashes with Udaybhan’s mania as the two fight a battle to the death at Kondhana, where the fort is captured but the lion is lost.

What Works: 

Until now, the 1933 Marathi film Sinhagad was the only film to tell the story of Tanhaji Malusare. Naturally, expectations were high for the biopic of this brave hero. Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is, however, not a biopic but an action drama that takes some liberties with its narrative. It’s made on a big budget and makes heavy use of CGI for its war sequences. The result is a larger-than-life action spectacle that looks magnificent on the big screen, especially in 3D. From the scaling of the impregnable Kondhana Fort to the battle that ensues within, every scene is a visual feast. Arrows come flying towards you and even in the comfort of your theatre seats, you feel a sense of thrill as if you’re amidst the battle. The splendor of the Mughal palaces, as well as the allure of Maratha forts, is also amplified through 3D, which is the best way to enjoy this grand film.

A man whose name is still revered in Maratha communities was naturally going to be essayed by an actor who holds great respect in the film industry. No one other than Ajay Devgn was up to this task. He embodies the nationalistic spirit that is required for this role and revives the Maratha braveheart’s legacy with vigor. The final battle sequence between him and Udaybhan will have you most engaged with the film, cheering on the hero has he reclaims the fort. Saif Ali Khan also poses as a worthy villain and though comparisons can be made to Ranveer’s Khilji, Saif brings his own charm and charisma into the role. His quasi-madcap avatar is most entertaining to watch so don’t be alarmed if you end up having a soft spot for Udaybhan and find yourself rooting for his victory too.

What Could’ve Been Better: 

When Bollywood superstars essay the roles of real-life superstars, they end up overshadowing the characters they play, which was the case for this movie. It is an Ajay Devgn movie through and through, which might be a treat for his fans but not so much for those who wish to see the legacy of the Maratha braveheart. Udaybhan’s character arc could have been better and the beeping of the word ‘Rajput’ achieves nothing. The choreography of the songs bordered comical.

Why You Should Watch: 

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a magnificent visual spectacle best enjoyed in 3D. No Ajay Devgn fan should miss this film as you get to see your action hero do what he does best – slay with swag.

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