Swami Vivekananda had said, ‘No one from Shivaraya has become a great hero, a great saint, a great devotee, or a great king. In our great scriptures, the virtues of the innate ruler of man are described. Shivaji was their embodiment. ‘ No one should be angry about these words. Only a self-styled king can know how to win even a lost war and how to live even after the end of life. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was and is the king of such people. This is what the movie “Sher Shivraj: Swari Afzal Khan” gives us.
Writer-director Digpal Lanjekar has taken up the film series ‘Shivashtak’, which has now been extended to ‘Sher Shivraj…’ In this film, the director has tried to present the reality of Maharaj’s war strategy in front of the audience. We see Maharaj’s various qualities; foresight, warlike skills, versatility in politics, in his life journey. This is the journey that the director presents step by step. Shivaji Maharaj had assimilated Vidura, Krishna, Chanakya, Shukracharya, Hanuman, and Rama. He learned the Ramayana and Mahabharata from his mother, Jijausaheb. That’s where the story begins. The story of “Narasimha and Hiranyakashyapu” is well known. The subplot of the film is skillfully constructed using the same storyline. The author combines the history and mythology of the Shiva period. The base of Fort Pratapgad was considered the ‘threshold of Swarajya’. On the same threshold, Afzal Khan, who was on his way to Swarajya, was attacked by Waghan Khan and Bichvya, and Maharaj took out his bag. History brings to life on the screen the form of Tharar and Maharaj’s saying, “Narasimha Sam Ha!”
The author’s hard work is evident from the oral references (historical evidence) of the correspondence and various expressions. The depiction of war preparations, plots, and actual wars is also effective. Not only the maharaja, but also the prowess and diplomacy of his comrades are prominent in the film. Subhedar Tanaji Malusare (Ajay Purkar), Subhedar Netaji Palkar (Vikram Gaikwad), Matoshri Dipau Bandal (Deepti Ketkar), Bahirji Naik (Digpal Lanjekar), Kesar (Mrinmayi Deshpande), Krishnaji Bhaskar (Gyanesh Wadekar), Gopinath Bokile (Vaibhav), Yesaji Kank (It fits well on the screen. Vaibhav Mangle has effectively portrayed the personality of Maharaj’s lawyer, i.e., Gopinathpant Bokil. Bahirji Naik himself has fulfilled the role of diplomat very well.
On one occasion, Jijausaheb (Mrinal Kulkarni) gets angry with Maharaj (Chinmay Mandlekar). The dialogues, acting, directing, and cinematography of both of them have come together very well. Mrinal has skillfully expressed the passion, care, and anger in the role of Ausaheb. Actor Mukesh Rishi has also effectively portrayed Afzal Khan. The weight and strength of this personality line is in his personality. At times, they may even seem confused. Chinmay has lived the role of Maharaj as usual. Apart from the feats, the film also touches on some mild incidents in the life journey of the Maharaja. They have been done well by Chinmay.
During Afzal Khan’s visit, the Maharaja had made a special armor in anticipation of Khan’s fraud. So he was asked to make a weapon by studying the weapons himself. And that is tigers. The film manages to entertain as well as inform.
The crux of production value is in the film’s CGI and VFX. The incidents on the bastion of Pratapgad and the main gate, which are depicted in a real place, are of good quality. Reshmi Sarkar is the cinematographer, and Vinod Raje is the compiler. The aerial shots (aerial photography) of the film have been picked up for the first time. The costumes by Purnima Oak and the costumes by Sanika Gadgil bring the script to life. Composer Devdutt Baji has increased the height of the film. Digpal and his team have done a great job, even within the limits of production values.
Sher Shivraj: Afzal Khan, Swari
Producers: Nitin Keni, Pradyot Pendharkar, Anil Varkhade, Digpal Lanjekar, Chinmay Mandlekar
Writer-Director: Digpal Lanjekar
Chinmay Mandlekar, Mrinal Kulkarni, Mukesh Rishi, Vikram Gaikwad, Ajay Purkar, Deepti Ketkar, Mrinmayi Deshpande, Vaibhav Mangle, Sameer Dharmadhikari
Cinematography: Reshmi Sarkar
Rating: Three and a half out of five stars
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