Movie Review — Thackeray

Film Review by Rishi Kapoor

The only reason to watch this biopic was to know about Balasaheb life but I guess the movie is made with a motive which focuses on certain events of the past and have glorified them.

Directed by Abhijit Panse, movie is based on the rise of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who believed in thoktantra (anarchy, rough translation) over loktantra (democracy). However, the film fails to provide any insight into his trajectory or rise above anything more than one incendiary speech after the other.

Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is quite striking (The black & white look). As a film, the acting is decent, the lookalikes are mostly good (the man playing Thackeray’s father, Keshav, is perfectly cast) and it looks crisp and well produced, with the majority of the film cleverly shot in black and white to depict another time.

Nawazuddin is first-rate. His petite physical form is quite close to that of the Sena supremo. Without too much ado, he borrows the leader’s mannerisms and his demeanor, convincing you that you are seated in Thackeray’s darbar. Amrita Rao, as Meena Thackeray, has little to do other than serve tea and food to the guests at Matoshree .

Despite the slick production and efficient making, the film feels exhaustively long, primarily because it refuses to believe its protagonist has any flaws. Everything is tweaked to favour the Shiv Sena.

I feel this film is more of a election propaganda as much as it is a work of pride.

Rather than instigators of violence during the 1993 riots in Mumbai, the party and its supporters are portrayed as the messiahs of the Hindus. Hooliganism is not only glorified, but presented as a solution to unemployment. The Shiv Sena, which has failed to win a majority since 1995, is trying its best to whip up passions. From Pakistan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not-so-subtle digs are taken at all and sundry.