Thackeray accounts the journey of Bal Keshav Thackeray (portrayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) from a radical journalist to a polarising political figure whose influence over Indian politics is still monumental even after his death.
Positive Points: –
- Nawazuddin Siddiqui; the name is enough! With Thackeray, the maestro proves it once again that we’re not yet done with his acting chops and he still has a lot more in his bag to offer to moviegoers.
- The film is honest as it doesn’t shy away from showcasing the ethnocentric and communal politics played by the titular character and his party.
- Manoj Yadav’s sharp dialogues and to a great extent Abhijit Panse’s screenplay and direction as well.
Negative Points: –
- Pacing is one of the most distressing features of this feature film. One’s view on Thackeray will depend on whether he/she could sit through its excruciating run or not.
- The film doesn’t really explore Bal Thackeray as a person rather it merely delineates his political career over a certain period of time. It can be a history lesson but not necessarily a movie to connect with.
- It lacks powerful characters. Except for the eponymous personality, there’s no one who actually makes a mark in the entire story.
The General Aspects: –
Making a biopic on someone like Balasaheb whose political achievements are copious and highly polarising isn’t a five-finger exercise but director and screenwriter Abhijit Panse still makes the most of it. The movie is built more like an encyclopedia on the screen which narrates different events in the life of this political giant. Thus, there’s hardly anything to complain about the cinematic aspects because the narrative balances everything positive and negative about its central character and rarely imposes any kind of view on the viewer who is free to interpret the man in discussion in any way he or she likes to. Manoj Yadav’s dialogues are powerful and reflect the leading man’s intentions and ideals pretty well while also establishing his firebrand nature and views with great effect. Nonetheless, I wished that there were more Marathi lines in the flick than they actually are. Thackeray’s greatest fallacy is its lack of powerful characters save the titular character. Also, the film is more of a superficial portrayal of Balasaheb and we don’t really get to see his deepest emotions and concerns, his trials and tribulations in different parts of life, his conscience, and the like. We get to see his fervent political and social campaign but we never really get to know who the man really is when he is aloof of all the aforementioned things. Although the film gives us a few scenes where he interacts with his wife and both contemplate their life and relationship, it still leaves a lot to ask for. In other words, Thackeray lacks the emotional connection which the viewer needed to have with the film and its characters. That’s also the chief reason as to why its slowly paced narrative weighs heavily on the audience with the passage of time.
Except for Nawazuddin Siddiqui, no other actor makes any real mark in this feature. Amrita Rao, who portrays his wife, does get some parts to perform but not enough dimensions to showcase her skills. Coming to Siddiqui, he simply nails it as Bal Thackeray. The film rests upon his shoulders and he carries it without any apparent issues. Be it his mannerism or authority or anything, he picks them all up perfectly and delivers a performance that’ll reverberate in the hearts of people for quite a long time in this year. This is arguably one of his best performances to date if not the best.
Final Verdict: –
Abhijit Panse’s Thackeray has its moments and all of them will enthral the audience. Save that, the film will be more like a prolonged and detailed history lesson which most students would want to sleep on. However, it’s honesty and above all Siddiqui’s performance are strong enough to be talked about for quite some time especially the latter which will become a measuring point for Siddiqui’s future roles.