Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Amrita Rao, Sandeep Khare, Pravin Tarde, Sanjay Narvekar, Chittaranjan Giri & others.
Director: Abhijit Panse
Quick Viewpoint: While there are tonnes of moral issues with what the film believes in & wants to communicate (or ends up communicating), on a cinematic level there are other bigger problems that affect the overall impact of the film.
- The entire craft of film making in the first half is of the highest order! Almost entirely black & white, ‘Thackeray’ takes us to the old Mumbai within few minutes! The absolutely brilliant camera work or the attention to detail in the production design or the work done on Makeup & costume all of it makes us lose ourselves in those times. Even if the narrative isn’t totally flawless, we hardly mind!
- There’s an absolute creative novelty at the display when we see Balasaheb’s newspaper cartoons come to life through Animation (yes in black & white)! For a moment we hope what if the entire run time the film had a similar sense of discovery while looking at the life of a political messiah!
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance & Chetan Shashital’s voice over both have gelled really well (as that was my personal concern). Chetan Shashital is probably India’s greatest voice-over artist & it’s a known fact that he can recreate Balasaheb’s voice pitch perfect!
- The casting of the film! Along with the main parts, even those cast in smaller roles leaves their impression. Sandeep Khare (the poet turned actor) as Manohar ‘Pant’ Joshi was a masterstroke!
- Just as the film turns color in the second half it loses it’s cinematic fluidity & also the disassociation we feel with the protagonist grows.
- One might applaud the makers of this biopic, that they aren’t really whitewashing the acts of it’s subject but then because of that it unconsciously projects the subject as a contrasting political leader who only to his benefit commits social & political nuisance of tremendous proportion! For example; If ‘Hindutva’ is really that important to him, why doesn’t the film ever feel the need to justify this love, passion or obsession or whatever it is! Why don’t we really peep into his psyche? Or why don’t we really understand the origin of his principles?
- Even sparring all that, on a narrative level the whole screenplay is a mess with the most abrupt ending I have seen in a Marathi film in a long long time!
- Many colleges feel like straightforward advertorials for the political party that is behind the making of this film. Never do we get an actual sneak peek into the functioning (both financial & manual) of this huge political party that wins in the state elections for the first time by the end of the film.
- Also, the film does bore you a bit in the second half as we never manage to relate with the protagonist or feel anything for him or even against him.
Final Verdict: One needs to open one’s conscience & understand that after all this is just a film. So one can decide on their own that how much do you want the film to affect you? Both in an inspiring & in a depressing way!