Verdict: It’s a Nawazuddin show all the way.
Many eyebrows were raised when Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was chosen to play the role of Bal Thackeray in his biopic. While some ridiculed him for being a “sell-out”, others still felt that an actor who was notorious for playing a “gunda” in most of his movies would not do justice to the role. But as always, Nawaz Bhai silences his critics by completely personifying his character in body and soul. After watching Thackeray, it’s safe to say that no other actor could have embodied the legendary politician better.
What’s Thackeray About:
The film first takes us to Bal Thackeray’s court case where he is accused of spreading disharmony among communities and inciting riots across Maharashtra, which ultimately culminates in the nation-wide discord that brings down Babri Masjid. As he takes the stand and fights his case, we are taken back to his early days when he worked as a cartoonist for Free Press Journal. Even then, he did not shy away from political issues or libel and when his artistic freedom is curbed, he quits his job and starts his own cartoon weekly titled Marmik. His aim was simple – uplift his community that was forced to do daily wage labor for the other communities who dominated the city of Bombay. With the help of his paper and his communally charged speeches, Thackeray wins the love and respect of his people. The rest, as they say, is history.
Only last year did Nawazuddin Siddiqui break his “gangster” image with the biopic Manto, where portrayed the legendary writer and playwright. His performance was heavily applauded as the actor left no stone unturned in essaying the character to perfection. In Thackeray, he is no different. His every move and gesture seems calculated and if you had ever seen the politician in real life, you would see the man reborn in this actor. Nawazuddin is also no stranger to adopting accents and he has had plenty of training with the Marathi language because of his Netflix series Sacred Games. Even the make-up department must be acknowledged for the actor’s striking resemblance to the man he portrays. There are scenes where you forget you are watching Nawaz and not Thackeray himself and the lighting used in these scenes also add to the illusion.
There is not much to say about the story of the film that is not already known. Thackeray pays tribute to the Shiv Sena leader with every frame and dialogue. For the people who knew and loved him, this will be an absolute treat. The movie portrays the politician in a positive light and justifies his actions. It reminds us that Bal Thackeray was not just a man but an ideology that will continue roaring in the state of Maharashtra.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The film is fairly black and white (literally and figuratively as some scenes in the past are devoid of color), which might not bode well with the late politician’s critics. The more wholesome look at Thackeray’s life would have been ideal in his biopic. The tiger roars added seem unnecessary as Nawazuddin’s acting prowess is enough to leave you inspired by his character.
Why You Should Watch:
If you are a fan of the man, there’s no telling you twice. The film portrays Bal Thackeray as the tiger he was and you can relive the legendary leader’s legacy in his film. You must also catch Thackeray for Nawazuddin’s performance as it might be some of his best work yet.
We and the public both recommend you to watch it this weekend. Check out the public review below: