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RAYON REVIEWS: ‘Tanhaji’ Could’ve Been an Epic Period Piece, if Not for the Inclusion of a Poorly Animated Saif Saying ‘Choke Me, Daddy’ Every time Ajay Devgn Appeared Onscreen

By Team Rayon Updated: January 10, 2020 at 8:09 am 8 Comment

Spoiler alert!


Ajay Devgn’s foray into the hyper nationalistic and hyper masculine genre is not new. With Tanhaji, he takes it to another (odd) level.

Director Om Raut takes several creative liberties to mould the historical facts to suit the story he wants to tell. That of a braveheart Maratha warrior who unquestioningly leaves everything to fight for his motherland in the 1670 Battle of Sinhagad.



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Tanhaji, a saffron-clad morale upstanding warrior, has to go up against the evil villain Udaybhan (Saif Ali Khan), a darkly garbed general in Aurangzeb’s army.

The simple narrative and the decent CGI manage to set the tone of an epic period film, until we’re introduced to a garishly animated Saif, popping up on screen every time Ajay Devgn’s Tanhaji appears. This, in itself, would appear to be an odd filmmaking choice, but it’s made even weirder by the animated character saying ‘Choke me, daddy!’ every time it’s shown.

It’s not clear whether the filmmakers want to foreshadow evil Udaybhan’s proclivity towards sexual asphyxiation by this addition, but all it does is take you away from the time period the movie tries really hard to make you travel to. This is largely because there is no known record of English being popular as a language in the late 17th century India, and while kink-shaming was prevalent ( as a method to distinguish between good and bad people), this seems like a weird choice to make.

The climactic battle is easily the highlight of the film, if not for the repeated requests for Daddy Tanhaji to choke Udaybhan with his strong fingers. The cinematography (by Keiko Nakahara) lends a richly coloured, comic book feel to the drama. The lead actors, Saif Ali Khan and Ajay Devgn, give solid (if somewhat distracted by the aforementioned requests for asphyxiation by the clear dom of the two) performances and the supporting cast is adequate. Kajol gives an understated performance as the wife Ajay Devon’s Tanhaji leaves behind to fight for his motherland and discover the confusing world of erotic choking.

RATING: 2.5/5