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Does Nawaz fail Thackeray?

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Last updated on: December 26, 2018 19:39 IST
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Does Nawazuddin Siddiqui bring Bal Thackeray's powerful personality to life?
Syed Firdaus Ashraf watches the Thackeray trailer to find out.

'Awaaz kunacha? Shiv Sena cha! (Whose voice is it? The Shiv Sena's!)'

When Bal Thackeray, the founder of the Shiv Sena party, spoke, his followers listened with rapt attention and followed his diktats unquestioningly.

At the peak of the horrific riots that rocked Mumbai in December 1992-January 1993, Thackeray ordered via the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, 'Ata shantata tehva! (Maintain peace now!)'

The riots stopped and Bombay -- as Mumbai was known then -- returned to some normalcy.

That anecdote may help non Mumbaikars realise the stranglehold Thackeray had on the city.


At one of his press conferences, a rookie reporter addressed him as 'Bal Thackeray'. The Sena chieftain sternly intervened to insist that he must be called 'Balasaheb Thackeray'.

Training his gimlet eyes on the young journalist, he added in a chilling tone, 'Mee tuzhya borabar lahanpani gotya nahi khel lo (I didn't play marbles with you during my childhood).'

The implication was clear, the threat distinct.

'Okay, saheb,' came the meek reply.

Millennials may find it difficult to imagine the fear Thackeray generated in Mumbai for close to four decades, but the fact that the comments section for the trailer has been disabled exemplifies the worry about a backlash that any negative comment could generate.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui acts well and has grasped Thackeray's mannerisms, but his voice fails him.

Thackeray's voice was deep and commanding and Nawazuddin's... well, watch the trailer and you'll know what I mean.

When it comes to reflecting Thackeray's thoughts about the Ram Janambhoomi or his feelings for the Marathi manoos, his core voter base, or his dislike for Pakistan, the trailer is spot on.

After the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992, BJP leader L K Advani called it the saddest day of his life.

But Thackeray, who never hid behind platitudes, declared he was proud of his Shiv Sainiks because they helped demolish the mosque.

'We brought down the Babri Masjid because there was a Ram temple beneath it,' he told Rajat Sharma on the Aap Ki Adalat programme.

In the same interview, he said, 'If Shiv Sainiks had not come on the roads during the riots, Hindus would have died.'

Thackeray never shied from calling a spade a spade; he never shied away from saying what was on his mind.

He was a rare Indian leader who never recanted his comments by claiming that the media had misquoted him or that he was quoted out of context.

The trailer remains true to Thackeray's personality, but Nawaz's voice is disappointing... The Thackeray roar is missing!

If you want to hear it, watch the Marathi trailer which is completely different from the Hindi one.

It is more reflective of Thackeray's political career and shows how he started his Marathi manoos movement by targeting South Indians in the mid-1960s with his controversial statement, 'Utthav lungi bajav pungi!'... a detail missing from the Hindi trailer.

And yes, you definitely get to hear the Thackeray menace in the Marathi trailer!

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Syed Firdaus Ashraf /