Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Review: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior

Release date: January 10, 2020
Running time: 131 minutes
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kajol

Tanhaji: the Unsung Warrior tells the tale of Tanhaji (Devgn), a 17th century Maratha military leader.  He is a great warrior, leader of men, and family man; basically your typical Hindi action star.  Tanhaji volunteers to defend his kingdom against an invading force led by Udaybhan Rathod (Khan), who is hoping to conquer all of India for Emperor Aurangzeb.  

As mentioned, Tanhaji features a larger than life protagonist that personifies your typical Hindi action star.  He is a fearless warrior, general on the battlefield, devoted father, and also puts his country first.  It is a trope, but it can be effective at times.  Devgn is great as Tanhaji, pulling off this man with an understated strength and conviction.  Khan is likewise great as Rathod, a cunning, ruthless, conniving warrior leading the invading forces.  Again, another Hindi movie trope, where Tanhaji is wholesome and pure, Rathod is heartless and evil.  His only motivation seems to be killing and the enjoyment he gets from it.  And these two larger than life personalities meet in some grandiose battles.  Although not as epic as some war movies, the fights are complicated and have many facets to them.  And the build up to the final fight is surprisingly tense as you wonder whether all the moving parts will come together. 

So overall, enjoyable characters and action.  But, the large battles were distracting at times due to some less than believable CG.  From some of the battle wounds, to the battle animals, to the landscape that is being fought on, the poor CG pulls you out of the experience whenever it becomes noticeable, which unfortunately is pretty frequent.  Additionally, as already alluded to, the movie has a very black and white tone.  The good guys are pure, wonderful, and care about country over anything else.  The bad guys are unpredictable, backstabbers, and murder without care or concern.  It goes beyond their personas as well.  The Maratha's are all cloaked in white and bright colors, whereas the invaders only wear black or dark colors.  It is a little too polarized for my taste, as many of these historical stories have shades of gray in them. 

Tanhaji pits two larger than life warriors in an epic battle that culminates in a tense final encounter.

Rent It

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