The trailer of Ajay Devgan’s upcoming movie Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior has been released on the 19th of November. The trailer is a marked departure from the conventional culture of Bollywood where Mughals have been glorified while Hindu warriors haven’t received their due. And it can be safely said that the movie will ruffle quite a few feathers.
Thus far, a certain narrative has enjoyed a monopoly over Bollywood. But that appears to breaking slowly ever since Narendra Modi stormed to power. Therefore, it’s quite natural that not everyone will be happy with the development. Here are five things from the trailer that will irk ‘liberals’ the most:
In the times we are living in, ‘Azadi’ is a very loaded word. The word imposed itself on the political consciousness of the nation when the ‘students’ of JNU chanted extremely problematic slogans at the university in support of Kashmiri Separatism. In the Tanhaji trailer, we see that the Mughals have been portrayed as invaders while the Marathas are shown fighting for Swaraj. Thus, the subtle manner in which ‘Azadi’ has been used in the trailer as an alternative for ‘Swaraj’, which is essentially Hindavi Swarajya, is significant. It will irk some people that ‘Azadi’ has been given a new meaning.
2. Hindu Symbolism
The entirety of the trailer is overflowing with Hindu Symbolism. There appears to be very little that is ‘secular’ about it. For instance, the trailer ends with Tanhaji (Ajay Devgan) sitting on what appears to be the edge of the fort with the Kesari Dhwaj in his left hand that has ‘Om’ painted on it. The same image also appeared on a tweet that Ajav Devgan had shared on the social media platform announcing the release of the trailer.
Even apart from that, the background music has odes to Maa Bhavani. An important female character can be heard saying that she will not wear any footwear until the Bhagwa flies at the Kondhana fort again. At one point in the trailer, Saif Ali Khan who is playing the negative lead in the movie asks Tanhaji who has been captured, “So it means you are you mad?” Tanhaji replies, “Every Maratha is mad, for Swaraj, for Shivaji-Raje, for Bhagwa.” Furthermore, Tanhaji’s shield is seen engraved with the Trishul, which is a weapon with Mahadeva and Maa Durga. All of this will make certain people squirm.
3. Kauravas and Pandavas
The movie also invokes the Mahabharata, a Dharmayuddha, as a reference that can be seen in the trailer. Tanhaji’s son can be heard saying that the strength of the enemy camp is huge. Tanhaji, in response, asks, “Who won between the Kauravas and the Pandavas?”
It a significant moment as it puts the battle between the Mughals and the Marathas in the context of a Dharmayuddha. In reality, it was one as Shivaji-Raje dreamt explicitly of Hindavi Swarajya.
4. Ghoonghat and Janeu
Kajol features as Tanhaji’s wife in the movie playing the character of Savitribai Malusare. She looks stunning in traditional Maratha attire. She says at one scene, “When Shivaji-Raje uses his sword, the Ghoonghat of women and the sacred thread of the Brahmin is protected.”
Among all the scenes in the trailer, this is the one that will anger liberals the most. In the Left-Liberal Clown World, the ghoonghat and the Janeu are considered symbols of oppression. Vast sections of Periyarites and Ambedkarites share similar notions about the Janeu. Thus, when Savitribai Malusare says those words in a movie that glorifies the valour of the Marathas, it will undoubtedly cause a lot of heartburn.
Kajol’s words also remind one of the legendary poet Kavi Bhushana’s iconic words, “काशी कर्बला होती मथुरा मदीना होती, शिवाजी न होते तो सुन्नत होती सब की”. Kavi Bhushana said that if it weren’t for Shivaji-Raje, India would have turned into an Islamic State.
5. “The Surgical Strike that shook the Mughals”
The movie is littered with political undertones that are very relevant to our present times. Apart from the manner in which ‘Azadi’ has been used, it becomes most obvious with calling Tanhaji’s attempt to capture Kondhana a ‘surgical strike’ on the Mughals. In our times, the term ‘Surgical Strike’ has gained massive popularity after the Indian Army smashed terrorist camps in Pakistan occupied territory in response to a terrorist attack on Indian soil.
Thus, the movie invokes Kauravas and Pandavas as well as puts Tanhaji’s valour in the context of India’s current turmoil with Pakistan. Set in the seventeenth century, the trailer shows that the movie has tied the Marathas with ancient Hindu Civilization and simultaneously, tied the Marathas with political themes in the current year. Thus, we see a continuity of the Hindu Civilization from the Maharabhata to the Indian state, a continuity that liberals have always struggled hard to deny.