Nawazuddin Siddiqui: There's no scope of whitewashing Bal Thackeray
Refuting popular perception that Thackeray is a propaganda film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui asserts biopic delves into the artist behind the late Shiv Sena supremo
A space of less than a week separates Nawazuddin Siddiqui from what could be the most decisive film of his career. Ever since the trailer of Thackeray — the biopic on the late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray — dropped online, it was widely debated whether releasing the film in the year of elections was a way of swaying public opinion. "Balasaheb ko propaganda ki kya zaroorat?," cuts in Siddiqui, when asked if the Abhijit Panse-directed biopic is a propaganda film. "It is his birthday, so the film is releasing now. It has nothing to do with any political motive. If the film were to be released any other year, the response wouldn't be different."
In Bollywood, biopics tend to glorify the muse. Considering the film has, at its heart, a man who was charismatic and controversial in equal measure, the makers would be tempted to take the same approach. "Balasaheb was already a controversial man. There is no scope of whitewashing him or playing neutral with him. The right approach would be to show him the way he was."
However, Siddiqui points out how biopics fall prey to the audience's "nitpicking". "We shouldn't complain about heroism because we have inherently bred heroes. People are accustomed to seeing actors as heroes, which is why nobody watched my anti-hero film Raman Raghav 2.0. If you don't glorify the hero, the movie won't make money. So, why is a big deal made if we idolise them in their biopics?"
Public perception may be what they are, Siddiqui insists the film shines light on the man behind the leader. "We delved into the man he was in his personal space. He was a soft-spoken man who transformed into a fine orator when on stage. His speeches could come off as mimicry if it was not done with earnestness. Great biopics are not actors impersonating their muses. It's about giving the right impression of the subject. At his heart, he was an artist."
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