Hindi film actors and directors have often shown their affection towards the kind of cinema made in the West and relentlessly rip them off here without thinking much about the Indian sensibilities, the most recent example being Tubelight, which was scene by scene copied from a Hollywood film named A Little Boy.
The fascination with the kind of cinema made in the West does not merely stop at remakes as the film makers have also adapted the story telling pattern of directors over there, which the Indian audience is completely alien to. In an attempt to explore a different kind of genre, the industry has completely ignored the rich Indian history that is full of unsung heroes. Chhatrapati Shivaji, Chandragupta 1, Ranjit Singh, Prithviraj Chauhan and Chandragupta Maurya are few of the heroes, whose lives had the instances which can be portrayed with a lot of pride on the big screen.
It took a regional film like Baahubali to encourage the Indian writers to dig into the history and come up with epic period saga’s, a genre which did not get explore a lot in Bollywood. While Ritesh Deshmukh recently announced a biopic on Chhatrapati Shivaji and promised to make it with utmost care and honest, Bollywood superstar Ajay Devgn has signed on for a film on the life of Taanaji Malusare. While the people in Maharashtra would be quite familiar with this name, Taanaji’s story needed a superstar like Ajay Devgn to reach to the pan-Indian audience. For those who can’t wait till 2019 to know his story, here are a few facts about the warrior who fought for his people and country:
- Taanaji Malusare was known as the man of iron will in the army of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Apart from being a warrior, he was the most trusted and dearest person for the king.
- Taanaji is remembered for fighting the historic Battle of Sinhagad in 1670 till his last breath.
- The thought of Mughal’s controlling Kondhana Fort was more than just enraging to Chhatrapati Shivaji’s mother, Rajmata Jijabai. After several rounds of discussions, Rajmata Jijabai and Shivaji Maharaj decided to entrust the responsibility to conquer the Kondhana Fort from the Mughals at any cost to Taanaji Malusare.
- The Maratha warrior was at his son’s wedding when the decision to conquer the fort was made following which he marched towards the fort with a troop of 1000 mavals.
- The fort had only two doors. The siege by Taanaji’s men was laid from the south side of the fort where there was only a deep cliff and no guards. According to legends, Taanaji had brought along with his pet monitor lizard, that can cling to rocks. Rope was tied around it and the lizard was made to climb up the cliff, which set the ropes for the soldiers to climb.
- The surprise attack was immediately responded to by outnumbering enemy forces, but being a brave heart, Taanaji wasn’t the one to accept failure. He decided to fight against the true Rajput Warrior, Udaybhan Rathore. A historic sword fight took place between Udaybhan Rathore and Taanaji Malusare, which lasted for a long time and ended with Taanaji losing his life.
- Saddened by the death of Taanaji, his troop under the leadership of Suryaji Malusare fought the battle and defeated the mighty Mughals.
- They captured the fort, however the victory was taken without any celebration. After hearing the about the loss of Taanaji Malusare, Chhatrapati Shivaji renamed the fort and called it Sinhaghad (Lion Fort). He is noted to have said, “Gad Ala Pan Sinha Gela” (We have gained the fort but lost a lion)
Knowing Taanaji’s story, a film on him should have been made a long time back, but like they say, better late than never. Given the access to technology in today’s time, we hope the director does justice by presenting the film on the kind of scale it deserves.