Day after speculation surrounding Nawazuddin Siddiqui portraying Balasaheb Thackeray aka Bal Keshav Thackeray in his biopic produced and written by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut we got our hand on a picture of Nawazuddin as ‘Tiger’ of Maharashtra. According to sources, the picture was from the look test. And looking at the picture we can say that Nawazuddin deserves a thumbs up as he came close to resembling to Balasaheb Thackeray.
Sanjay Raut spoke to Mid-Day and confirmed the news. Raut said, “Nawazuddin is a talented actor. If you look at his filmography, he is among the top five actors we have. He has done theatre, and knows how to get into the skin of a character.” But an official announcement in this regard will be made later this evening. A grand teaser launch will take place in Mumbai today, with Amitabh Bachchan set to unveil the teaser. The event will be graced by Shiv Sena chief and Balasaheb’s son Uddhav Thackeray. The film is directed by writer and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) member Abhijit Panse.
The casting of a non-Maharashtrian for the part of Thackeray, it was speculated, could cause turmoil. Now, with a Muslim actor being roped in to play the role, the discussion may further gather momentum. However, Raut dismisses the suggestions, stating, “Balasaheb never hated Muslims. He was never against them. His fight was against those who supported Pakistan, and encouraged terrorism, irrespective of their religion.” In what appears to be the biggest hint of Siddiqui’s association with the project, he adds, “We have cast an actor [for his talent], not his religion.”
However, earlier there were reports that superstar Ajay Devgn has replaced Nawazuddin to portray the character of late Shiv Sena supremo.
Characters based on Thackeray have been seen before on screen. Amitabh Bachchan’s Subhash Nagre in Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar franchise was famously one of them. The Marathi film Zenda (2010) was also based on the rivalry between the Shiv Sena and its offshoot, the MNS.