The theatrical trailer of Marathi film, Thackeray, the bilingual biopic on Bal Keshav Thackeray aka Thackery sparked controversy within hours after its release. The video has drawn widespread criticism for lines referring to south Indians in a derogatory manner. This biopic on the political life of late Shiv Sena chief, has also received objections from the Central Board of Film Certification, and others like actor Siddharth, who took to Twitter to call it ‘hate speech’.
The controversial lines are presented only in the Marathi trailer of the film, and not in the Hindi version which also released on Wednesday. A younger version of Bal Thackeray, played by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is first seen walking through the bustling areas clad in office formals, in erstwhile Bombay streets with Tamil, Malayalam and English signboards, and all men around him busy at work. Then, he accidentally runs into a man head-on, projected as a Malayalee, who cries, “What, dog? Can’t you see?
Moments after that, we see a furious Bal Thackeray addressing a huge gathering at Amar Hind Mandal, where the leader used to meet party activists in the initial days.
He said "How these salé ‘andu gundu’ South Indians come together! How they help each other in life! They even hire people from their hometowns to wash the dishes at street side idli carts. But not anymore. Now “uthao lungi, bajao pungi!” he says arousing the public.
Shortly after this, a trouser-clad goon is seen pelting stone at the Udupi Coffee House, where men in lungis (depicting south Indians) are walking around.
These series of shots from the trailer have irked netizens, adding to the public outrage, raising objections over the trailer. The film certification body has even sought the editing of the controversial lines mentioned above, along with references to the demolition of Babri Masjid. However, clarity is missing over which trailer has been objected ato nd which version or portions of the movie or the trailer the CBFC has objected to.
However, speaking to the media, Shiv Sena MP and co-producer of the film Sanjay Raut said that no cuts will be made to the film. Responding to the CBFC’s objections he added, "Balasaheb was controversial, but his thoughts gave direction to the country. We show him as he was. It is not a love story, right?" Bal Thackeray in all his 46-year-long political life spoke against migration. He made xenophobic comments that south Indians settling down in Maharashtra and in particular, Mumbai, had ‘stolen’ jobs which belonged to ‘Marathi manoos’ or sons of the Marathi soil. This movie seems to be glorification about the political leader’s ideology.
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