Social Media Buzz

#Irony: Choice of Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Bal Thackeray in upcoming biopic leaves Twitter puzzled

‘A Muslim dude from Uttar Pradesh playing Bal Thackeray in a Shiv Sena puff piece is the most 2017 thing to happen in 2017.’

News that Nawazuddin Siddiqui will play Bal Thackeray in an upcoming biopic on the Shiv Sena founder has elicited mixed reactions on Twitter.

The movie, titled Thackeray, has been scripted by Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and will be directed by Abhijit Panse, a Sena member who briefly crossed over to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena to contest the Lok Sabha election in 2014. The first look and the teaser of the film, showing Siddiqui as the leader, were unveiled on Thursday evening at an event attended by actor Amitabh Bachchan and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray. The movie will be released on January 23, 2019.

Photos of Siddiqui as Thackeray evoked varying responses on Twitter, with some commending the artist’s look and others wondering why the acclaimed actor would lend his name to the project.

Several users pointed out the irony that Siddiqui, a Muslim from Uttar Pradesh, was playing the right-wing politician. Shiv Sena has a known anti-migrant stance, especially against Mumbai residents from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and a history of violent protests and rioting against the minority community.

There was also speculation about why a party that has repeatedly claimed that Marathi speakers are being denied employment in Maharashtra has chosen not to cast a Marathi actor for the role.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.