You should be careful in portraying historical figures: Om Raut on 'Tanhaji'

Mumbai, Jan 7 (PTI) It is important to keep the sanctity and purity of historical characters intact while presenting them on the screen, says 'Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior' director Om Raut.

Raut says he researched the story for about three years to get a clear picture. 'We met a lot of historians, researchers, read a lot of books and studied paintings. It is important to keep the sanctity, persona and the purity of the character intact when you are dealing with historical figures.

'There shouldn't be anything that will possibly create any type of harm to their image. There has to be self-censorship that every maker has to maintain. I would like to put such restrains on myself and keep the sanctity, purity intact and do it with the right heart so it gets translated on-screen,' Raut told PTI in an interview here.

Raut says his grandparents introduced him to the Maratha warrior.

'I grew up in a Marathi household, I was told this story about Tanhaji Malusare by my grandparents. It was my family, who introduced me to this character, to this great warrior. The word surgical strike has been taught to us recently but the Maratha's were known for guerilla activity that they always did.' When Raut, was studying in the US in 2006, one of his friends showed him a film about a greek warrior, that motivated him to make a film on Maratha warriors. That's how, Raut says, began the journey of making a movie.

'Cinema is a powerful tool. People do not read newspapers or books or history books but cinema is seen by a lot of people, so it is a brilliant tool to tell stories that you want to tell.' Ajay Devgn will be seen as Tanhaji Malusare, Kajol as his wife - Savitribai Malusare, Saif Ali Khan as Udaybhan Rathod, the antagonist and Sharad Kelkar as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The director, best known for directing the critically and commercially successful 2015 film 'Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush', says he gives a lot of importance to casting because when the cast is apt, half the battle is won.

'If your spy looks like a spy then he doesn't have to act too much. I believe in performance and the ability of an actor. The reason to cast Mr Devgn, Saif and Kajol and others, the core reason for it is the excellence that they have in their performances. They all had narrations after that they came on board for the project.' The biographical period action film, produced by Ajay and T-series, is scheduled to arrive in theatres on January 10. PTI KKP SHD BK BK