Mumbai, Dec 22: Acclaimed Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui will play the title role of the late Shiv Sena founder-president Bal Thackeray in the upcoming biopic titled “Thackeray”.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut attended the glittering launch function here on Thursday evening.
The first promotional posters of the Hindi biopic – to be directed by Abhijit Panse – was unveiled by Uddhav Thackeray amidst a thunderous applause. The film is scheduled for release on January 23, 2019, the 93rd birth anniversary of Thackeray.
Nawazuddin posted the first teaser of the biopic, titled Thackeray, on Twitter. His post read, “It’s an honour and pride to portray the Real King of the Country on Screen. Here comes the TEASER of #Thackeray. Hearty Thanx to Shri @uddhavthackeray Sir, Shri @rautsanjay61, Shri @SrBachchan Sir and Abhijit Panse.”
It’s an honour and pride to portray the Real King of the Country on Screen.
Here comes the TEASER of #Thackeray
Hearty Thanx to Shri @uddhavthackeray Sir, Shri @rautsanjay61, Shri @SrBachchan Sir and Abhijit Pansehttps://t.co/cYHRUkdJEu
— Nawazuddin Siddiqui (@Nawazuddin_S) December 21, 2017
The teaser of the film — launched Thursday night — captures the moments in Mumbai history which made Thackeray a national leader as well as the sway he held over the people of Maharashtra. The signature style of Thackeray has also been shown in the teaser. Starring Nawazuddin in the titular role, the biopic penned by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, will be directed by Abhijit Panse.
It also depicts a scene from the two-phased riots which bloodied Mumbai in December 1992-January 1993 in the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Mosque and a grim Thackeray (Siddiqui) preparing to address his customary annual Dassehra Rally at Shivaji Park before a sea of saffron flags.
Terming Bal Thackeray as “an unparalleled leader of the masses,” Raut – who has scripted the film for nearly four years – exuded confidence that the film would prove popular with the mainstream audiences.
“I had spent much time with Balasaheb, and have been associated with him for nearly four decades. I have a deep knowledge of his life and there are many aspects which shall be brought forth in the film,” he said.
In his address, Amitabh recalled his long association and memories with Bal Thackeray spanning over more than four decades, till his final moments on November 17, 2012.
“When we first met, he somehow developed a liking for me and treated me as a family member, which was an honour for me. And he continued like that, always standing behind me, through thick and thin, helped and guided me for so many years,” he said.
Big B recalled how in 1973, when Thackeray heard of his marriage, he “summoned” him and his bride Jaya to ‘Matoshree’, the political family’s residence in Bandra east.
“When we entered the home, Aai (Thackeray’s wife, Minatai) accorded a loving welcome to Jaya, just like she would have welcomed her own daughter-in-law. We were moved and indebted by their warm gesture,” he said.
The 75-year old actor recounted his near-death encounter in 1982 during the shooting of “Coolie” and he was shifted to Mumbai from then Bangalore for advanced treatment of his injuries sustained on the sets.
“When the flight landed in Mumbai, there was torrential rain and there was no transport to rush me to the Breach Candy Hospital from the airport. But, a Shiv Sena ambulance was there and it braved the weather to shift me to the hospital on time, or my health could have deteriorated further,” he said.
Amitabh, who was among the handful of visitors permitted by Uddhav Thackeray to visit Thackeray in his last days, said that he was taken aback to see a picture of himself in a corner just beside the bed on which Thackeray was lying and “this was another indicator of how much love and affection he had for me”.
Bal K. Thackeray, the charismatic cartoonist-turned-firebrand politician founded the Shiv Sena and had a gigantic presence in Maharashtra and national politics for over five decades.
Feared and revered in equal measure, he held sway over the entire state and national political scenario as the champion of Hindutva or “Hindu Hridaysamrat” till his demise on November 17, 2012 aged 86.
The biopic will release on January 23, 2019.