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Thackeray Looks Like An Exercise In Unconcealed Gush

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 to show extreme masculine valour. Ketan Mehta  make Mountain Man  and MangalPandey.

Both the  directors aim to do the same. Anoint their protagonist as  hero of our times.

 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 jawaans who died at the  border.”

I don’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 come first.”

The  hoax Mrs  G looks looks like she  couldn’t care less. I certainly hope the actress playing her  in the Manmohan Singh bio-pic fares better.

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.

If the Thackeray  bio-pic works the credit would have to go to Nawaz for holding back  in a film whose trailer suggests  no restrain.Bring on  the gush.

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