Thackeray belongs to the league of these political biopics and is based on the life of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, played perfectly by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The versatile actor took everyone by surprise when the first look of the film was dropped. With the help of prosthetic makeup and his excellent craft of adopting the body language, Nawazuddin became the spitting image of the late political leader.
Thackeray’s story is a narration of Balasaheb Thackeray’s eventful life. He quit his job as a caricaturist at the Free Press Journal to fight for the equal rights of the Maharashtrians in Mumbai. According to his beliefs, Maharashtra was ruled by South Indians, Gujaratis, and every other outsider at that time. He took upon himself the crusade to empower the Marathis and provide them livelihood and a better life.
Director Abhijit Panse has tried to encapsulate the life of Balasaheb Thackeray in a feature film at which he succeeds up to a certain point. However, it’s nearly impossible to chronicle the enormity of his life in such a short time frame. Hence, Thackeray lacks to project all the nuances of the leader on the celluloid. It might also seem like an effort to whitewash some of the controversial chapters of Balasaheb Thackeray’s life through the film. It is often seen that while making a political film, directors struggle to draw a line between diplomacy and truth. Same happened with Abhijit Panse.
He kept a diplomatic stance throughout the film while the truth seems to be taken a backseat. Undoubtedly, Thackeray will be loved by every fan, follower, and believer of Balasaheb Thackeray.
On the acting front, it’s ample clear that there’s nothing that Nawazuddin Siddiqui can’t do. From playing a warlord Ganesh Gaitonde in Sacred Games to an eccentric writer in Manto, Nawaz has time and again established himself as the most versatile actor Bollywood has ever seen.
The way Nawazuddin has played Balasaheb Thackeray in the film, it will make anyone sympathise with him. He expresses himself unapologetically, even when he expresses his dislike towards different ethnicity of the country. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s way of treating the character is genuine and honest in every way. Amrita Rao who played Meena Tai in the film looks splendid but didn’t have much to do.
Thackeray is a good feature film with a stellar actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead. However, for factual accuracies, we can’t give full credit to this Abhijit Panse directorial.