Safe in the knowledge that Om Raut's story on Tanaji Malusare had sufficient fodder for the making of a cinematic hit, Ajay Devgn knew that his portrayal of the Maratha empire's commander would look magnificent enough, only if pitted against an equally promising antagonist.
In search of someone "wicked and quirky" for the part of Udaybhan Rathore — the Rajput fort-keeper who was at loggerheads with Malusare at the Battle of Sinhagad — Devgn says he found the "perfect fit" in Saif Ali Khan.
"We wanted someone who could emote and depict the character well as he is at loggerheads with Tanaji. The idea was to find an actor with gravitas. Saif was perfect for the role. We've gotten along well right from our first film, Kacche Dhaage  and then, Omkara . We narrated the [script], and he instantly liked it. Even though we didn't work together as much as we should have [in the past], I am glad we collaborated on this film," says Devgn, who had his heart set on the story ever since Raut gave him the first narration.
It was during this interaction that Devgn — also the producer of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior — learnt of Malusare's sacrifices, and decided that his story needed more attention than destiny had allotted for it.
"The most important thing for me is to see if a story is worth telling or not. Tanaji was indeed an unsung warrior. The two paragraphs on him in school [textbooks] don't do justice." A glimpse at the three-minute long trailer reveals that Devgn has left no stone unturned to ensure the film is as much a visual delight as it should be an interesting watch. Set to bring forth the film in 3D, he says it is the storyline that demanded they exploit the technology. "This is a high-octane action drama. We want to give viewers an immersive experience and have used the best technology to do so."