Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Saif Ali Khan, Sharad Kelkar.
Historical Drama/ Biopic
What happens when earthly men decide to get together and write a strong of grandiose and valour? They do it with simplicity as opposed to aplomb and yet make the most of their opportunity. We don’t know what Om Raut (debutante director in Bollywood but an astounding success in regional cinema) and Ajay Devgn has in mind when they decided to make Tanhaji, but we can be certain it will be an entertainer all through.
The film is placed in the 17th century, Shivaji Maharaj (Sharad Kelkar) has already surrendered many of his forts to the Mughal Empire, but now he wants Kondana back. The insurmountable fort needs to be back under the Maratha Rule to strengthen their siege. And yet, Shivaji is refusing to involve his most trusted commander Tanhaji (Ajay Devgn) in on his plans. Why you ask, it’s because Tanhaji is preparing for his son’s wedding. Attempting to conquer the fort of Kondana would be like signing his erstwhile commander’s death warrant!
Given the fact that the fort is now under the keep of Udaybhan Singh (Saif Ali Khan) The ruthless warrior is known to be heartless and without scruples. There is no right or wrong in Singh’s perspective, there are only winners and losers. And Udaybhan is no loser. In his court, he pardons no one, and infiltrating his walls will be an impossible task.
Despite knowing it all, Tanhaji decides to go to battle for Kondana, one day prior to his son’s wedding. Because at the end of the day, it is always duty before desire. His wife, Savitribai (Kajol) declares their son, Rayaba will be married on the decided day, irrespective of the outcome of the battle. Thus, begin the preparations, that of the wedding and of the battle. The result of the battle is known to all, so you can be certain you won’t coming out of the theatres unmoved by the film. But how much do Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan tilt the scales further in the favour of the film?
The answer is considerably! Both Ajay and Saif have an underlying chemistry between them which perhaps stems from films like Kachche Dhaage, Omkara. The two are absolutely explosive when together (even better than the Kajol-Ajay chemistry in the film), feeding on each other’s reactions and giving some phenomenal moments to cinema. Yet, the two need a very good director to bring that out in them. While Om Raut does a good job in Tanhaji, he left a lot on luck.
To begin with, like us it is almost believable that Raut read about Tanhaji in school history books. The one page dedicated to the warrior might speak about his valour because his posterity lies amongst the Kings and the Emperors even centuries later. However, through the film it’s obvious that Om Raut based his Tanhaji on that one page too. There is in-depth study of the era nor the history. Though, it doesn’t take away from the entertainment quo, one does feel a little misled despite the initial disclaimer.
Whatever they lacked in facts, they have sure made up in the form of CGI, cinematographer Keiko Nakahara needs a bow. All in all Tanhaji is a effective entertainer, despite not being efficient.