Actor Siddharth Calls Out ‘Thackeray’ Film as Anti-South Indian

Actor Siddharth says ‘Thackeray’ glorifies hate speech against South Indians.

2 min read
Siddharth calls out the biopic for glorifying Bal Thackeray’s hate speech against South Indians. 

The trailer of the Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray biopic, featuring Nawazuddin Siddqui in the lead, was released on Wednesday, 26 December. Titled Thackeray, the film is already courting controversy with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) having demanded certain cuts in the film, which writer and producer, Sanjay Raut, is refusing to comply with.

Now, Tamil and Telugu star Siddharth has also tweeted against the biopic’s anti-South Indian tone which is also reflected in the trailer.

“Nawazuddin has repeated 'Uthao lungi bajao pungi' (lift the lungi and *'#$ him) in the film #Thackeray. Clearly hate speech against South Indians... In a film glorifying the person who said it! Are you planning to make money out of this propaganda? Stop selling hate! Scary stuff!” - tweeted Siddharth mentioning a dialogue from the film, which is clearly against the South Indian community that had settled in Mumbai in the 1960s.

It is well recorded that Bal Thackeray did polarise the local Marathis and instigated them to take up violence against South Indians or “Madrasis” as he reportedly called them, for taking up the jobs in the city. A scene in the trailer shows a man throwing a stone at a Udupi Hotel after being “inspired” by Thackeray’s words.

Also in the trailer, a young Bal Thackeray is seen being yelled at by a South Indian after they both bump into each other while walking in a public space.

A South Indian berates a young Bal Thackeray for bumping into him. A still from the trailer of <i>Thackeray. </i>
A South Indian berates a young Bal Thackeray for bumping into him. A still from the trailer of Thackeray.

Clearly, a scene to amplify the notion that South Indian migrants were “taking over” Mumbai city, leaving the locals with little space of their own. The signage in South Indian languages around the place further pushes this thought.

Also, as Siddharth points out, the anti-South Indian diatribe is exclusively kept to the Marathi version of the Thackeray trailer (without subtitles). The Hindi trailer is a different cut wherein there are no references to them.

The biopic is definitely not scuttling away Thackeray’s anti-South Indian propaganda, but is there really a need to glorify it, as it eventually would, considering that this is a biopic being made by a Shiv Sena MP.

Siddharth goes on to make another point about the Bal Thackeray biopic: “Poetic justice is when a Muslim actor from UP gets to play the part of the revered Marathi bigot in a propaganda film.”

This is perhaps an obvious reference to Thackeray’s anti-North Indian and anti-Muslim politics that he played at the state level and the irony that it is eventually Nawazuddin Siddiqui who is portraying the Shiv Sena leader on the big screen.

Co-produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and directed by Abhijit Panse, Thackeray is scheduled to release on 25 January, 2019.

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