Looks like The Wire has found a new competitor in The Quint. A year ago, when the trailer to the first ever on screen rendition of the surgical strikes, i.e. ‘URI’ released, The Wire developed a strange obsession with the film, and they criticized it so much that their criticism actually attracted crowds to the theaters, giving it a worldwide gross of more than 340 crore rupees.
Now a year later, it seems that The Quint has developed a similar obsession with the trailer of ‘Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior’. Directed by Om Raut, the movie stars Ajay Devgn as Tanaji Malusare, the brave Maratha warrior who was martyred at the battle to reclaim the fort of Kondhana.
Amongst all those who were aghast at the unapologetic glorification of the Sanatana Dharma in the movie, it seems that The Quint is rattled the most, which is why they posted not one, but 4 articles deriding the movie (including one in Hindi) altogether.
As mentioned in our article mentioning the hilarious reactions of the liberals post Tanhaji trailer release, The Quint wrote an article in which they asked some of the most preposterous questions as shown below –
‘Was Lack of Paper the Real Reason for the Downfall of the Mughal Empire?’
‘Did the Marathas Make Weird Flexes Before It Was Cool?’
‘Why Are the Elephants All Giant?’
‘Is Zip Lining With Swords the Worst Adventure Sport Ever?’
‘Is Tanhaji Also a Naagin?’
‘P.S.: When Did the Battle of Sinhagad Turn Into a Surgical Strike?’
However, this wasn’t the only article that The Quint posted in its desperation to nail the Tanhaji trailer. In another article, titled ‘Recipe for making a period drama : Panipat vs Tanhaji’, the author had the gall to find both films as similar, even though their approach to the subject was poles apart.
But it looks like The Quint had saved the best for the last. In the article titled, ‘How Bollywood is reselling Hindutva as history’, The Quint not only scoffed at the trailer, but also played the very divisive politics it accused Bollywood for in their very own article.
To quote an excerpt from the article, “Films often reflect the politics of their time. If the Nehruvian era witnessed films with a socialist bent like Do Bigha Zameen and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai , Narendra Modi-led BJP’s reign has seen a series of Bollywood films projecting a sense of muscular nationalism.
More important are a series of period dramas, mostly set in medieval India, that push the narrative of Hindu nationalism.
This was evident in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat (2018) and Bajirao Mastani (2015) and the latest examples of this are upcoming films Panipat : The Great Betrayal and Tanhaji: The Unsung Hero.”
This is exactly similar to the venom spewed by The Wire when the trailer of Uri was released. Published on December 5, 2018, the writer in the article wrote, “The film’s timing will help the BJP market the surgical strike in the 2019 elections as its unique contribution to Indian security — a claim belied by similar army actions taken under previous governments. The fact that a key official shown in the trailer is a dead ringer for national security adviser Ajit Doval is a giveaway.
We are introduced to a ‘Naya Hindustan’ where India is set to teach Pakistan a lesson through violence and bloodshed. The tone further builds up when soldiers shout ‘Jai Hind’ as their leader blurts, “They want Kashmir and we want their heads.”
However, The Quint just doesn’t stop there. From deriding the colour saffron, to promoting casteism of the worst order, The Quint seems to be promoting Tanhaji in their own sweet way. To quote an another excerpt, “The filmmakers’ use of the “surgical strike” analogy appears to be a deliberate ploy to equate the battle between Marathas and Mughals to India’s tensions with Pakistan. The underlying narrative, obviously, is ‘Hindu vs Muslim’.
But the Battle of Kondhana (now Sinhagad near Pune) of 1670, on which the film is based, was anything but a religious one.
The battle’s main protagonists were Tanaji Malusare, a Koli General of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Udaybhan Singh Rathod, the Rajput Commander fighting for the Mughal Empire. There was no Hindu-Muslim angle.
But the filmmakers appear to have deliberately tried to present the battle as being one of ‘good vs evil’, ‘Hindu vs Muslim’ and also one between Indian nationalism and foreign occupation.
The poster itself shows Tanaji, played by Devgn, looking visibly Hindu with a tilak, while Udaybhan, played by Saif Ali Khan, is made to almost look like a Muslim, with a beard and no religious markers. This, despite the fact that the both of them were Hindu.
In the poster and throughout the trailer, the Maratha side is depicted with hues of yellow and saffron while the Mughal side is projected as dark and eerie. The Marathas are shown wearing white or saffron, while the Mughals are invariably in black or green, clearly in line with the “Good vs Evil” and “Hindu vs Muslim” theme.”
It seems that the movie ‘Tanhaji’ holds immense promise in terms of restoring the honor long due to our real heroes, which in a way also threatens the nefarious agenda of news portals like The Quint, who wish to suppress such tales by any means possible. However, going by their tone and the venom they’re spewing, they might end up making the same mistake as The Wire, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if the makers of Tanhaji, like Uri, have the last laugh.