Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior has all the ingredients of a patriotic period drama – a man completing the quest he was set on as a child, life-and-death stakes, rousing speeches, shots of the Maratha flag waving gently in the breeze, extremely dramatic dialogues (“Kutte ki tarah jeene se behtar hai, sher ki tarah marna,” says one character), a steadily swelling score and… Saif Ali Khan yelling someone to death off a balcony.
If all this was too subtle for your tastes, the trailer declares: The surgical strike that shook the Mughal empire. It may seem like a lot to pack into one trailer, but keep in mind that it’s a whole three minutes and 21 seconds long.
The year is 1670 and the Battle of Sinhagad (for possession of its fort) is about to commence between the Marathas and the Mughals. Devgn, playing Shivaji’s commander Tanhaji Malusare, slices, dices, climbs walls, runs in slow-motion, flies through the air and nudges a horse aside with a mere shake of his shoulder. Khan plays Mughal army chief Udaybhan Rathod, but you didn’t me to tell you that. Those heavily lined kohl eyes have all but become shorthand for ‘Muslim’ in Hindi cinema. “Tu jaan de sakta hai, main jaan le sakta hoon,” he says menacingly. We get one shot of them leaping into the air at each other, swords in hand.
The trailer also features accented Hindi, Kajol testifying about Tanhaji’s greatness, shots of her and her husband dancing and opulent sets.
Directed by Om Raut, who has also co-written it with Prakash Kapadia, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior releases on January 10, 2020.