Friday, October 2, 2020

THE UNSUNG WARRIOR is an entertaining paisa-vasool film that would be loved by the masses as well as classes

THE UNSUNG WARRIOR is an entertaining paisa-vasool film that would be loved by the masses as well as classes 

Off late, Bollywood has been making period dramas, focusing on the brave warriors of the medieval and early modern history of India. While films like MANIKARNIKA – THE QUEEN OF JHANSI and PANIPAT focused on the somewhat known chapters of history, the Akshay Kumar starrer KESARI was based on an incident that wasn’t known to many. Now another film joins this latter category – TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR. It depicts the bravery of Tanhaji Malusare, a legend in Maharashtra, but largely unknown elsewhere. The film is mounted on a huge scale and moreover, has a terrific star cast, both of which have contributed to its hype. So does TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR manage to give a great time to the viewers? Or does it disappoint? Let’s analyse. 

TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR is the story of one of the greatest warriors of India. The year is 1664. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (Sharad Kelkar) has given a tough fight to the Mughals, headed by Emperor Aurangzeb (Luke Kenny), in the Deccan region. However, when things get tough for the Marathas, Shivaji Maharaj decides to sign a treaty. As part of this agreement, he hands over some 23 forts to the Mughals, including the strategic Kondhana Fort. A few years later, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj expresses his desire to recapture Kondhana. This is especially when he finds out that Aurangzeb has sent Udaybhan Rathod (Saif Ali Khan), an evil military officer, to control the fort. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj realizes that his brave Subedar Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgn) is the best man to get the fort back. But Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj refuses to even let Tanhaji know about this operation. This is because Tanhaji is busy with the marriage of his son. However, Tanhaji finds out about the plan. He persuades Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to let him go for it. The Maharaj agrees and hence, Tanhaji keeps his son’s marriage on hold. He then begins to plan how to recapture the fort and thereby create history. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Prakash Kapadia and Om Raut’s story is excellent and well-researched. It talks about a landmark moment in India’s history and at the same time, it has enough entertainment and drama. Prakash Kapadia and Om Raut’s screenplay does justice to the plot in hand. The script is peppered with dramatic and massy moments that keep the interest going. However, the film drops a bit in the middle of the second half. Also, the first half could have had more hard-hitting moments. Prakash Kapadia’s dialogues are simple but also sharp-worded as per the requirement.

Om Raut’s direction is quite praiseworthy and he handles the film like a pro. He does full justice to the scale and grandeur of the film. He also keeps the narrative uncomplicated and very simple to understand. And his biggest achievement is that he doesn’t make TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR look like the recent period films, especially the ones of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Bhansali’s films have become a genre in itself, hence when it comes to period flicks many recent ones looked like clones of his movies. TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR, however, stands out. And moreover, he adds enough masala, especially in the climax, which takes the film to a high. See it to believe it!

TANHAJI: THE UNSUNG WARRIOR begins with the childhood sequence of Tanhaji and the background of the Maratha Empire. The film moves too quickly here but no complaints as the impact is made. The entry of adult Tanhaji is too good and viewers would welcome it with claps and whistles. Even Udaybhan’s introduction makes for a great watch. From here on till the intermission, the film keeps one engaged but the film here lacks action and a punch, which one might expect after the action scene in the start. But the intermission point is fine and it indicates that the second half will be better. And thankfully, the post-interval portion has a lot more entertainment. The sequence where Tanhaji and Udaybhan come face to face is electrifying. Also Tanhaji urging the Maratha soldiers to fight for him is a scene to watch out for. The film then drops again but the makers reserve the best for the finale. The climax battle is incredible and single screen audiences especially will go in frenzy!

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