Ever since Nawazuddin Siddiqui came on board for
‘Thackeray’, there has been this constant debate on whether he’s the right
choice to essay the life of late Shiv Sena leader on screen or no. While we
believe Nawaz is an actor par excellence and will do full justice to a powerful
character like Balasaheb Thackery; but considering he’s a Muslim from UP, a
certain section of the society has been busy making this political film into a
communal battle given how Shiv Sena is always believed to have traditionally
followed an anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan, anti-migrant and anti-UP bhaiya
template in its divisive brand of politics.
When we met Nawazuddin Siddiqui recently and asked him to
comment on this ‘communal’ backlash just because he’s a Muslim he said,
“Thousands of people will say thousands of things…today every little
thing is turning out to become a controversy. Rather than broadening their
thoughts, people are making it narrower. I am an actor, I will do any role. And
moreover, has anyone tried to see the other side of it? Now, Shiv Sena, their
team or Sanjay Raut gave me this role not on the basis of my caste. They didn’t
see if I am a Muslim or whatever. They consider me as an artist who can do
justice to a character like Balasaheb Thackeray. Why is nobody talking about
this? If I am born in a certain community then how am I responsible for that?
It’s not something that we get out of choice. I am proud of who I am and I think
the least we all could do is at least appreciate Shiv Sena for having a
progressive approach and choosing me to play their idol irrespective of my
Further reacting to the criticisms coming his way for
playing a controversial leader like Balasaheb Thackeray, Nawaz added,
“Everyone’s reaction is going to be different because Balasaheb Thackeray
was one such personality. Everyone has their freedom of speech and expression,
so they can go on..”
Directed by Abhijit Panse, Thackeray also stars Amrita Rao
who plays the role of Balasaheb Thackeray’s wife Meenatai in the film
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