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No Motive Behind Releasing Bal Thackeray Biopic Ahead of Elections, Says Producer Sanjay Raut

No Motive Behind Releasing Bal Thackeray Biopic Ahead of Elections, Says Producer Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, producer of the Bal Thackeray biopic starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, says that there is no hidden agenda behind releasing the film ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The flaws and imperfections of India's electoral system has inspired many films over the years. However, 2019 seems to be the one in which most movies are focused on the topic, with election-season films like Uri: The Surgical Strike, The Accidental Prime Minister, Thackeray, and The Tashkent Files, among others.

In an already hot election market, the producers of these movies are competing for perfect release schedules. While some are eyeing Republic Day, others want to release their films in the coming month.

Thackeray is the latest film to be in the news for its political tinges. The film, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Amrita Rao, is based on the life of Shiv Sena supremo, late Bal Thackeray.

During an interaction with the media in the capital, when its producer and senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut was asked about his motive behind releasing a political biopic ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he said, “There is no motive. If you think this is my motive, then I’d like to request the Election Commission to change the date of the elections.”

The movie is set to release on January 25, two days after Bal Thackeray's birth anniversary.

Raut, who is also the scriptwriter of Thackeray, said he didn’t take any creative liberty while penning the movie and tried to keep it as authentic as possible. “There is only truth in Thackeray. Balasaheb's life is an open book. We didn’t have to unnecessarily create a story or add masala or any kind of fiction to the film. My experiences with Balasaheb and the way I’d seen and observed him, I have tried to translate that into the film," he said. On casting Nawazuddin in the role of Bal Thackeray, Raut said, “Nawaz is a well-known theatre actor. He can play anything and everything. I met many big actors and superstars for this part, but I felt that they didn’t have the required potential to play Thackeray. But when I saw Nawaz in Freaky Ali, I was totally mesmerised. I loved his acting in that movie. The way he walks and emulates his personality in the movie is commendable. We didn’t even take his screen test because I was so sure that he would do great justice to the role.”

Thackeray was known for his highly provocative and controversial statements. He had targeted south Indians in the late 1960s, accusing them of snatching away jobs from the youth of Maharashtra. He had also made critical remarks against migrants from Bihar, saying that they were “an unwanted lot” in all parts of the country.

When asked if the film would be promoted in Bihar, Raut said, “People are misinformed about Balasaheb's life and Shiv Sena's journey. The issue on people from Bihar and UP was never raised. In fact, in his political career spanning 50 years, people from Bihar and UP who were living in Maharashtra were emotionally connected to Balasaheb.

"In 1969, a movement did start for the 'bhoomiputras' (sons of the soil) in Maharashtra, but it’s now going on in every state, be it Odisha, Madhya Pradesh or West Bengal. The movement was only limited to the issue of unemployment and nothing else,” he concluded.