Based on the valor of brave Maratha warrior Subedar Tanaji Malusare, the recently released historical drama ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ has won the hearts of the moviegoers worldwide. Directed by Om Raut, the movie has earned accolades from almost all corners w.r.t. the various aspects of the movie, from the mesmerizing VFX to the marvelous acting. As of now, the movie has earned a staggering total of almost 91 crore rupees in barely 5 days, and there is no doubt of the fact that the film will enter the Rs. 100 crore club in less than a week.
#Tanhaji is unshakable… Solid trending on weekdays… Day 5 is higher than Day 1 and 4… Eclipses biz of *all* #Hindi films… Will cross ₹ 💯 cr today [Wed; 15 Jan]… Fri 15.10 cr, Sat 20.57 cr, Sun 26.26 cr, Mon 13.75 cr, Tue 15.28 cr. Total: ₹ 90.96 cr. #India biz.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) January 15, 2020
While Ajay Devgn is being praised for doing justice to the titular character, some fans are going crazy over the menacing portrayal of Uday Bhan Rathod by Saif Ali Khan. Sharad Kelkar is also receiving a considerable amount of appreciation for having done justice to the much talked about role of the Maratha Emperor and the founder of Hindavi Swarajya, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. However, very few people have focused on the fact that the movie also starred Kajol after years in an important role, who left a significant impact with her limited, yet impactful role of Savitribai Malusare.
If you carefully look through the reviews of some of the urbane critics, you will understand that they’ve somehow got wind of the impact that Savitribai Malusare’s role will have on the Indian audience, which is why they’re leaving no stone unturned in order to downplay her role. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since after the iconic role of Devasena in Baahubali franchise, Savitribai Malusare is the second character in Indian cinema, which no modern, ‘woke’ feminist in India would want an Indian woman to emulate.
But who is Savitribai? What was there in her personality, to which Kajol has paid an outstanding tribute on screen? Savitribai Malusare was the wife of Subedar Tanaji Malusare, who didn’t let his martyrdom in the battle to reclaim Kondhana fort come in the way of her son Raiba’s marriage.
There is not much information available on her, and director Om Raut himself admitted in some of his interviews that the makers of the movie had to create her character almost from scratch. However, the way her character has been portrayed on silver screen, it proves one thing for sure, that the writers of this movie believe in genuine gender equality, and not feminism for the sake of it.
Savitribai Malusare is not your typical woman activist, who can be moulded as per the whims of modern feminism. She is the living embodiment of the concept of Shakti, without whom even Bhagwan Shiva is a Shav [Corpse]. As said in our ancient shastras, a woman is the better half of the man; both are incomplete without each other. Likewise, Subedar Tanaji Malusare may be courageous and unintimidating, but he is equally soft at heart, which comes out brilliantly whenever he is with Savitribai Malusare.
The message is clear in this movie: Savitribai Malusare is the living embodiment of the principle ‘Where You Go, I Go’. She not only encourages Tanaji to achieve the impossible, but also becomes his biggest emotional support, just the way Devi Parvati did when she brought out Bhagwan Shiva from his self imposed mourning. The concept is beautifully explained with the same example of Bhagwan Shiva and Devi Parvati in the movie, and this is what makes Bharatiya culture unique in itself.
Likewise, when Tanaji sets out to reclaim the fort of Kondhana, Savitribai feels that this might be Tanaji’s last battle as well. However, she doesn’t let her hesitation and her fears overpower her, as she knows that this battle is nothing less than the Dharmyuddh, where Tanaji cannot afford to be weak at all.
In such a tense situation, it is natural for anyone to break down, but the patience and the bravery of Savitribai is something which makes our Indian women a force to reckon with. When our ancestors recited the couplet, ‘Yatra Naryastu Poojante Ramante Tatra Devata’ [The deities make their home wherein the women are respected and loved], they actually meant it. If you don’t believe us, here is another example on the same.
Our self proclaimed feminists and women empowerment activists often wail on the status of Indian women, that they were allegedly maimed and tortured, and never given their own voice. However, in Tanhaji, this propaganda is blown to smithereens, as the movie skillfully portrays that even in the times as grievous as that of the time when Mughal tyrant Aurangzeb ruled over India, the Sanatani women were not only respected in their households, but also had a say in important decisions of the same.
As shown in the trailer, the apparent father in law of Raiba Malusare is uncomfortable with the idea of the marriage being postponed. Knowing the tense situation, as well as the value of Tanaji’s promise to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Savitribai comes forward and assures Raiba’s soon to be father in law that irrespective of the outcome of the Battle of Kondhana, the marriage would take place the very next day, and she keeps her word as well. When she made the decision, Tanaji’s well wisher Shelar Mama and his younger brother Suryaji Malusare were present as well, and both encouraged her in her decision. If Sanatan Dharma, or India of that time was really against gender equality, would Savitribai really have made the initiative to take such crucial decisions?
Tanhaji not only brings forward the unknown chapters of Indian history, but also gives women their due honor in the society. As Savitribai Malusare, Kajol has proven that it is not necessary to mock one’s culture in order to be an empowered woman, and she deserves much more applause for her role than what she is receiving right now.