The trailer of the Balasaheb Thackeray bio-pic leaves much to be desired. It is obviously designed to extol and eulogize the mass leader from Maharashtra who gave Indian politics intelligence with and regional arrogance. And nothing wrong with that. Every filmmaker must be clear in his head or heart as to why he is making the film that he is.
Hence a Rohit Shetty makes Simmba show extreme masculine valour. Ketan Mehta makes Mountain Man and Mangal Pandey.
Both the directors aim to do the same. Anoint their protagonist as a hero of our times.
Watch the trailer here:
Thackeray’s USP was his ability to hold thousands of people spellbound with his oratory. He could, and did, say anything that came to his heart without apology. Fear and regret were unknown to him, and Nawaz whole playing Thackeray keeps the original’s intimidating audacity in mind. In the trailer, he’s heard telling a Pakistani cricketer, “Your batting is not so brilliant as make me forget the jawans who died at the border.”
I do n’t know if Balasheb really said that. But if he did, then the film has picked the right rhetoric to get the audience galvanized into approving applause. At one point in the trailer, Balasaheb is heard telling “India Gandhi”(poor mimicry of the Iron Lady) “I salute the nation first and then Maharashtra. To me, the nation always comes first.”
Has the bio-pic on Maharashtra’s most dynamic and durable politician been made only to get his fans and other fawning observers lathered up into obsequious appreciation? Let’s get one thing clear: propaganda is not cinema. Judging by the trailer Thackeray seems more an attempt to bring the colourful intensely regional politician-rhetorician alive as a demi-god rather than a fair attempt to capture the dynamic personality in all its glorious contradictions.
What keeps the trailer from tripping over its own servility is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who looks like the original without seeming to imitate him. Providentially Nawaz doesn’t try to replicate Thackeray ’s mesmerizing voice. A capable actor knows he can’t change the voice without sounding like a pantomime of the original.
Quite a contrast to Anupam Kher’s Manmohan Singh where the actor is seen smothering his normal voice and covering up his face in whiskers and a turban.
Imitation may be the best form of flattery. But it can never be a substitute for art. Siddiqui’s Thackeray fires all cylinders but remembers to hold back when it comes to the borderline between recreation and mimicry.