mid-day exclusive! Nawazuddin Siddiqui to play Bal Thackeray on screen

Updated: Dec 25, 2017, 13:26 IST | Sonil Dedhia

Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena spokesperson and producer of biopic on Bal Thackeray reacts to irony of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a Muslim actor playing a man who used Hindutva card

mid-day exclusive >>> Days after speculation surrounding Nawazuddin Siddiqui's casting in the upcoming Bal Thackeray biopic hit headlines, producer-writer Sanjay Raut confirmed the same to mid-day. The Member of Parliament and Sena spokesperson, who had worked with the late politician for over two decades, says, "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."

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the garb of Bal Thackeray
Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the garb of Bal Thackeray 

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."

The venture will be launched this evening, with Amitabh Bachchan and Uddhav Thackeray in attendance. It is also speculated that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena member and screenwriter Abhijeet Panse will helm the outing.

Raut asserts that he will ensure accuracy while showcasing the leader instead of only celebrating his laurels. "We will portray the important events in his life. He was a leader who did not hide anything from his people. We want to reveal his personality. It is my dream project. It won't be a documentary. It will be a feature film along the lines of those made for Mahatma Gandhi and [Nelson] Mandela." The 1993 Mumbai bomb blast will also find a place in his outing. "People spread several rumours about him during that time. He did not start any riot. He had nothing to do with it. His life story is vast; we are trying to include as many chapters as possible in the film."

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