Dear 17th century, meet CGI

Dear 17th century, meet CGI

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
Rating: 2/5
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kajol, Sharad Kelkar
Director: Om Raut
Language: Hindi  (U/A)

Alamgir (Aurangzeb) has set his eyes to conquer all of the “golden bird” Bharart, and sends his trusted man Udhaybhan (Saif) to secure his position in the Deccan. All that stands in his way is Shivaji’s Man Friday Tanhaji Malasure.

While Saif oscillates between crazy, fanatical, ruthless and comical, Ajay seems to shift all the tension on his body to his face— even his eyes don’t wince when he cries. The only convincing character in this plot is Sharad Kelkar’s Shivaji.

The CGI moves between cartoon-like and professionally made. The animals too are produced graphically, reminding us of children’s television shows.

People riding horses end up looking like they are swaying on a toy cart.

The background sounds feel like they were picked up off a cheap website, with musical cues that tell you to laugh when an alleged joke has been cracked.

The music does nothing to elevate the drama.

 A monotonous and saffron-obsessed Ajay with an occasional pitch for swaraj seems a bland choice. The movie doesn’t stretch too much and knows when to draw boundaries and in doing so, leaves loopholes like ‘Why is Udhaybhan so loyal to Aurangzeb?’

It was supposed to be about Tanhaji, and much of the screen time is devoted to him, but the icing on this Mughal-Maratha dish is Ranveer-inspired Saif, who loves his croc well-cooked.
The film doesn’t justify the dialogue “The surgical strike that shook the Mughal empire”, and no intricate details about the Kondhana fort are shown except for a secret passage in CGI.
A caste slur mouthed by Kajol’s character is rephrased and terms describing Udhaybhan are muted — the censors don’t seem to want to take any chances.

There is a Muslim character in Tanhaji’s group, who wears a skullcap all the time. When he is hurt by the enemy, Azan is sounded for a brief period in the background — pushing a medieval era stereotype in full throttle.

Dear Bollywood, whenever you forage into history, make sure to bring out the raw past on the silver screen and not the one which hides behind graphics, jewels, dramatic music and exquisite locations.

Watch the old ‘Bharat ek Khoj’ and discover something worthwhile.

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