Nawazuddin Siddiqui, cast as Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray in his biopic Thackeray, has responded to the criticism that he has been subjected to for playing the role despite being a Muslim. During his interview with a leading website, Nawazuddin said that as an actor, he is open to playing different roles and folks should rather widen their perspective.
"Thousands of people will say thousands of things...today every little thing is turning out to become a controversy. Rather than broadening their thoughts, people are making it narrower. I am an actor, I will do any role. And moreover, has anyone tried to see the other side of it?,” Nawazuddin told the website.
[caption id="attachment_158040" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Nawazuddin in a still from Thackeray[/caption]
Directed by Abhijit Panse, the biopic narrates Bal Thackeray’s journey and his political career as he established Shiv Sena – a Hindu right-wing Marathi ethnocentric party. Bal Thackeray was immensely popular amongst his followers, particularly in Maharashtra as he espoused the rights of the Marathas in his state. The story of the film has been written by Sanjay Raut, a politician from Shiv Sena.
Nawazuddin, while speaking to the website, also said that neither Shiv Sena nor Sanjay Raut asked him to play the protagonist in Thackeray considering his religion and approached him to play the role because they were aware of the fact that he will be able to do justice to the Bal Thackeray’s character.
[caption id="attachment_188883" align="aligncenter" width="647"] Stills from the trailer of the film[/caption]
“Now, Shiv Sena, their team or Sanjay Raut gave me this role, not on the basis of my caste. They didn't see if I am a Muslim or whatever. They consider me as an artist who can do justice to a character like Balasaheb Thackeray. Why is nobody talking about this? If I am born in a certain community then how am I responsible for that? It's not something that we get out of choice. I am proud of who I am and I think the least we all could do is at least appreciate Shiv Sena for having a progressive approach and choosing me to play their idol irrespective of my religious background. They only saw an artist in me. But logon ka kya....,” Nawazuddin added.
Thackeray co-stars Amrita Rao and will release on January 25.