Abhijeet Panse: Nawazuddin Siddiqui constantly watched Balasaheb's videos when on set
Thackeray director Abhijeet Panse on how Nawazuddin Siddiqui "became" the politician instead of mimicking him
It is tough to decide what must be retained and edited out of his life. It's a mammoth life of a magnanimous man," says director Abhijeet Panse of his muse Balasaheb Thackeray. Highlighting that the team behind his film — based on the life of the politician — has four hours of material to work with, Pande describes the process of trimming it down to half to suit the feature format, as a challenge.
There's a lot that the makers wish to retain, one among them being the fact that Thackeray was a cartoonist. Pointing out to his rise as a politician, he says, "His observation [skills] and empathy made him [aware] about people's problems, which contributed to his [achievements]. I have known Balasaheb for many years, and was constantly in touch with his family."
Certain that no one other than "best actor" Nawazuddin Siddiqui could do justice to the part, the director attributes the actor's tendency to dive headlong into understanding his roles, as reason behind his success.
"He is an unparalleled method artiste who prepares for his films rigorously. A character is of utmost importance to him. He doesn't replicate, but becomes the person. Nawaz bhai learnt Marathi, and would constantly watch videos of Balasaheb's speeches when on set. His performance is nuanced, and I could [ascertain that] from the way he would fix his spectacles or say namaste."
Panse pays no heed to discussion around a Muslim actor portraying the part of a Hindu politician. "Religion shouldn't come in the way of art. An artiste's religion is art. This [discussion] never [bothered us] during our filming process."
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe