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.