Ever since the first look of Thackeray came out, people were convinced with the fact that no one could essay the role of Balasaheb Thackeray better than Nawazuddin Siddiqui on the silver screen. Nawaz's striking resemblance with the political leader and his near-perfect Marathi took everyone by surprise. But, many are unaware of the fact that Nawazuddin Siddiqui was not the first choice to play Bal Thackeray. In fact, it was Hindi Medium actor Irrfan Khan, whom the makers were considering to rope in for the part.
Wondering as to how do we know about the same? All thanks to the casting director Rohan Mapuskar. Recently, in an interview with Mid-Day, Rohan revealed that the makers were keen to cast Irrfan Khan for the lead role but things didn't work out as planned. "Director Abhijit Panse, Sanjay Raut and I were brainstorming on who we'd like to cast and were contemplating (roping in) Irrfan. We had his image to see if it matched that of Mr Thackeray, and were convinced," he said. He further went on to say that they had to come up with another name as Irrfan was with another project and had thought of considering the film only after two-three months.
When asked as to how Nawazuddin came into the picture, Rohan said, "He (Abhijit Panse) told us that during certain pandals, Mr Thackeray would be seated with the Karyakartas on the floor. Following subsequent discussion, we felt that Nawaz would be a better choice for the depiction of such scenes when compared to Irrfan. Zeroing in on him was a consensual decision." Interestingly, Amrita Rao, who plays the role of Meenatai, wasn't the first choice too. In fact, it was Manto actress, Rasika Dugal. But since they needed a fresh face, Amrita was approached for the role.
Meanwhile, Thackeray has hit the silver screens today.
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