History has seen unlikely rivalries and alliances to fight it out, and intention decides morality. Intention alone, not the way you worship and not the colour of the flag you wish to flutter. That was the problem of 2019's Panipat and is the problem with 2020's Tanhaji: The Unsung warrior. Assigning of intentions!
If Tanhaji, was just a fictional character and his battle is a fictional premise like the Bahubali franchise there would be no problems enjoying the movie with unstinted adrenaline rush. But how much can one crib about a period film's historicity, which claims to be cinematic and not purely historical.
The battle of Sinhagad is not esoteric, Chattrapati Shivaji won it from the mouth of Mughals in his thirst for self rule. And yes, Mughals pitted Uday Bhan Rathod against Tanhaji Malusare who had the blessings of Shivaji Maharaj. Did the Mughals choose Uday Bhan to foment the infighting of Hindus as the movie suggests? This question clearly touches a raw nerve, hindering our genuine desire to celebrate our ancestors' sacrifice for Swaraj (self rule).
But, do these aspects mar the movie? Definitely not! Infact such scenes at certain times gave the film high points.
Casting of Uday Bhan (Saif Ali Khan) and Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgn) is the smartest thing done by the makers of the film. They competed each other really well both as rivals on screen and actors when it comes to performance.
Scenes shared by Savitri Bai (Kajol) and Tanhaji provides perfect amount of relief besides the brewing battlefield. Though Kajol has less to offer in the testosterone-surging screenplay, she has well utilised the tiny space she got. Neha Sharma is the reason why we cannot give an A+ to the casting, her casting was a wrong call.
Every history that demands a relook must have a battle. If period films get this right, it's half the battle won (pun intended). Stunt choreography of Tanhaji is well accompanied by VFX, helping nothing look off place.
We know the kind of action films Saif and Ajay have pulled off, the duo make stunt sequences look sinecure.
Songs in period films can be forgiven if it's situational, like a mandatory patriotic song or a battle song. Tanhaji's songs could be forgiven.
Summing up, Tanhaji saves itself from polarity of identities and catches up with the plot at the right moment, making it a good weekend investment.