Bal Thackeray love for Bollywood is an open secret. He loved hanging out with Bollywood celebrities and was often clicked with Bollywood actors from Dilip Kumar to Shah Rukh Khan. But this is not the only Bollywood connection he had. The shades of his personality would often find resemblance on the big screen. The first time he was portrayed on the screen was in the film ‘Narsimha’ directed by N Chandra. On his 5th death anniversary, November 17, here’s a look at the films that featured characters resembling Bal Thackeray.
The action drama film stars Sunny Deol, Urmila Matondkar, Dimple Kapadia, Ravi Behl and Om Puri in lead roles. Om Puri’s look in the film is similar to Thackeray. His character ‘Suraj Narayan Singh aka Bapji’ is the capitalist of the city and controls the law and order of the city with his power.
Directed by Mani Ratnam, the romantic drama film is centered on events during the 1992-93 riots. The film revolves around the love story of a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl. The film has a fleeting reference to Balasaheb Thackeray. Actor Tinnu Anand’s blink-and-you-miss role features him wearing a saffron and holding rudraksh malas, essaying a Hindu leader’s role in inciting violence against Muslims.
Raj ka Rann (2014)
The film potrays the Thackeray family split which shows Balasaheb fictionalised as Kakasaheb Nagre (essayed by Ramesh Deo). The film concludes with Nagre holding the hands of his son and nephew in the backdrop of an event that looks like annual Dasara Melava, the annual dassera celebration organised by Shiv Sena at Shivaji Park in Dadar.
Produced and directed by Avdhoot Gupte, the Marathi film ‘Zenda’ is loosely based on the political family of Balasaheb Thackeray and loyal party workers. The film features Pushkar Shrotri, Santosh Juvekar and Rajesh Shrungarpure in lead roles. The story is inspired by the real-life rift between Balasaheb’s son and current Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. The film showcases the plight of party workers who worship a particular political party based on its apex leader.
The film showcases the political ideals of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray. The title ‘Balkadu’ is a homonym in Marathi meaning the bitter medicine given to infants to ensure their good health. However, in the movie the word signifies the ‘bitter medicine given by Thackeray for the well-being of ‘Marathi Manoos’. The film revolves around a Maharashtrian youth essayed by Umesh Kamat who is disturbed by gradual erosion of the Maharashtrian identity in Mumbai. The protagonist seeks inspiration from Thackeray to hit back to those who plan to destroy Marathi culture in the city. Though Thackeray is not depicted on the screen his imagery is used along with his voice. His speeches have also been patched in the movie.
Sarkar (2005), Sarkar Raj (2008), Sarkar 3 (2017)
The political drama is Sarkar and its two installments Sarkar Raj and Sarkar 3, are heavily inspired by ‘The Godfather’ and loosely based on the life of Balasaheb Thackeray. The movie also features some of his speeches. A huge part of Bachchan’s character as Sarkar is borrowed from the late Shiv Sena chief. In an interview the director of the film Ram Gopal Varma was quoted saying, “Many of the dialogues from both Sarkar and Sarkar Raj are actually Balasaheb’s lines which I copied from what he said.”
Bal Thackeray’s daughter-in-law Smita and grandson Rahul are currently working on Balasaheb’e biopic and there were reports that Akshay Kumar would play the lead role. During a media interaction of his film Rustom, he was asked about the role, to which he replied, “I don’t know whether I suit the character first of all, whoever makes it will have to first think if I suit the character or not.”