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Tanhaji Trailer: One More Bhansali



It looks  like  every  major  Bollywood superstar wants to play a nationalist warrior taking on a   kohl-black invader  from the  Mughal era.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani started the   trend.  Then came Ashutosh Gowariker’s Panipat where  Maratha warrior Sadashiv Rao Bhau is seen taking on   Dutt’s  Ahmad Shah Abdali. Even before   Panipat is   out, Ajay Devgan’s ambitious Tanhaji’s trailer  was  released on  Tuesday.It looks  like  a part  of  a trilogy  of historicals on valiant noble legendary Maratha warriors taking  on  the brutish Islamic invader.

 There  is  no doubt that Devgan is   the right fit for playing the Maratha warrior.  And  I can’t imagine a more  suitable  adversary than  Saif Ali Khan. However the merger  of the righteous  and  the  renegade  doesn’t create  the  impact that  it ought to . At  least  not in the trailer. Devganlooks    distracted. While Saif, never comfortable  in  characters he   doesn’t believe in,behaves like  Laal Kaptaan on steroids, Devgan  looks  like he has  finally decided to do own Bajirao(the role was originally offered  to Devgan).

 The special effects  showing men and horses  making impossible leaps look like out-takes from Bajirao Mastani. The  stunts clearly  lack  authenticity  and  could pull back producer Devgan’s  best intentions. Somewhere in the stretched-out trailer  Kajol appears as  Tanhaji’s devoted wife.  Her Maharashtrian  look  is impeccable. No one can fault the  trailer for its eye for costume and accessories.

   But the effort to  infiltrate  the  patriotic psyche seems  skin-deep. Tanhaji looks like  the patriotic card being  played at  high stakes but  never quite  getting  a  hang of  the game. There  is  the  patriotic hero’s mother vowing not to  wear  shoes  until the  invader is vanquished. This  sounds like  a  threat we must take seriously.

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