Tanhaji Movie Review: A Thoroughly Commendable Effort

Tanhaji Movie Review Poster

Tanhaji Movie Review

Great Visuals Lift The Film

Tanhaji aka Tanaji Movie Review | Analysis

'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior', which is reportedly based on the life of a Maratha warrior named Tanaji Malusare, features actor Ajay Devgn in the titular role. The film is directed by Om Raut, and is reportedly an ambitious project of actor Ajay Devgn. The film was surrounded by big expectations, but does the film live-up to its expectations? Read on to find out.

'Tanaji: The Unsung Warrior' starts with the childhood story of the Maratha warrior, Tanaji Malusare; the story which inspires him to fight and dedicate his life for the sake of "Maratha swaraj". His father's lessons and bravery hugely influence the young Tanaji, and he too follows in his father's footsteps. Years later, according to the film, Tanaji is now the right-hand man of Shivaji Maharaj. On suffering setbacks at the hands of the mighty Mughals, Tanaji fights to win back the forts which were lost in war-pacts with the Mughals, primarily the Kondhana fort, as the expansionist Mughals try to push back the Marathas and occupy much of the province. Mughals send their loyal henchman Udaybhan Rathod as the defendant of the fort and also to lead the charge against the Marathas to achieve their southern aspirations.

The good thing about 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior' is that it looks absolutely beautiful. The film has been very well-shot, and the visual effects are particularly praiseworthy. The colour palette is well-done, and adds to the mood that the film tries to create along with the impressive background score. The 3D takes a while to get used to, and honestly feels out-of-place in the initial scenes. The 3D in the movie '2.0' in comparison was better. The action choreography is one of the best things about 'Tanhaji', and lifts the film to another level. Apart from the early action sequence that takes place at a narrow passage involving ropes, which looks slightly clumsy and all over the place and not well-contained; the rest of the action sequences are at totally another level, be it the individual combats or the mass battle sequences. And, the costumes, the sets and the props are also well-done. It is only the mediocre writing that sticks out like a sore thumb.

The film starts on a good note, but it pretty much fumbles initially in setting-up a solid foundation for the rest of film to be built upon. The film overly focuses on its lead character and the primary antagonist, that it quite fails to take every other aspect of the story together in its narration. Yes, the film is named 'Tanhaji', and obviously the primary focus will be on Tanhaji, but without the complete picture, the perceived greatness and valor of the film's lead character cannot be effectively rendered. The film reduces the battle to a fight between two individuals, and fails to paint the larger picture. The related history and background politics are only outlined, which makes them invisible together with the over-colored lead characters. For the unaware, most of the background narrative of who's who and what's what, will go over their heads. For example, the film calls one of its chief antagonists sometimes as Alamgir and sometimes as Aurangzeb, and only at the end that I came to know that both the references were directed at the same character. Of course, the film is not a history lesson, and is in fact a thoroughly fictionalized version, but a well-rounded story with clearer narration would've been better.

The narration is not fluidic and struggles to hold your attention for a longer period of time in some of the portions. The unnecessary songs, useless characters (like the 'good Muslim' guy among the Marathas, who acts retarded and is used for comedy, and also to uphold Tanaji's secular credentials when Tanaji saves him from Muslims.) and lame dialogues in some of the scenes add turbulence to the fragmented storyline. Most of the scenes/sequences when taken individually are well-done, but they are not adequately coherent enough to give a smooth-flowing film. And, there are no grey characters in the film, everyone and everything is clear-cut black and white. While it suits to the hero-worshiping nature and agenda of the film, but, which I think, made the film less believable.

The acting performances are quite good, and Ajay Devgn, particularly, kills it as Tanaji Malusare. And, Saif Ali Khan does a pretty good job as well playing Udaybhan Rathod.

Overall, 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior' is a thoroughly commendable effort. There are more hits than the misses.

Rating - 3/5

- Review by Aditya.

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