Tanhaji The Unsung Warrior: Well-crafted Bollywood extravaganza

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Film: Tanhaji The Unsung Warrior:

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kajol, Sharad Kelkar, Luke Kenny

Direction: Om Raut

New Delhi, Three things had straightaway grabbed attention watching the promos of “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior”. First, the sheer lavishness of the film’s frames, and the fact that it had been prepared for 3D consumption. Second, the real-life couple of Ajay Devgn and Kajol was returning together on screen after close to a decade. Finally, Saif Ali Khan did look menacing as the arch villain of the piece.

Watching Ajay Devgn’s self-produced latest effort, you realise the actor-filmmaker’s intention was not just to create largescale action drama seeped in lavish visual delight. The film, directed by Bollywood debutant Om Raut, tries reimagining the Bollywood historical genre at a scale far more extravagant than we have seen so far.

If commercial cinema is largely about impressing with visual delight, the unapologetically larger-than-life “Tanhaji” manages to craft the right spectacular impact. Watch the trailer here.

But there is a very different aspect of creativity associated with mainstream cinema that also needs to be fulfilled to set up a stellar watch. A visually striking film also needs assured writing, and characters that arrest your imagination.

Prakash Kapadia and Om Raut’s writing could perhaps have done better while setting up roles that justified Ajay and Kajol’s on-screen reunion after such a long time, as Tanaji and his wife Savitribai. Granted, the film centres on war drama — which means the scope of romance and chemistry automatically gets curbed. Also, Kajol gets very limited screen time here, though she is a delight to watch as ever. “Tanhaji” is mostly about Ajay Devgn’s machismo, and about redefining his vintage action hero avatar with a twist of history.

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