Siddharth Hits Out at 'Thackeray' Trailer for Anti-South Indian RemarksDecember 27, 2018 10:02
The theatrical trailer of Thackeray has kicked up a storm, just hours after release, with many slamming it for lines referring to south Indians in a derogatory manner.
The bilingual biopic on Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray has likewise received objections from the Central Board of Film Certification, and among others like actor Siddharth, who took to Twitter to call out the 'hate speech'.
The controversial lines appear only in the Marathi trailer of the film, and not in the Hindi version which also released on Wednesday. A young Bal Thackeray, played by actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is at the start seen walking through bustling areas of erstwhile Bombay with Tamil, Malayalam and English signboards on the streets, with men busy at work. As he walks around, he accidentally bumps into a man, presumed to be a Malayalee, who yells, "What, dog? Can't you see? (Endaada Patti? Dhiktha Nahi hai?)."
Moments later, we see an angry Bal Thackeray addressing a meeting at Amar Hind Mandal, where the leader was known to meet party activists in the early days.
"[How] these sale 'andu gundu' South Indians come together! How they [help] make each other big in life! They bring people from their hometowns even to wash the dishes at [their street side] idli carts. But not anymore. Now "uthao lungi, bajao pungi!" he says in what is supposed to be a rousing speech.
Soon after this, a Udupi Coffee House, where men in lungis (depicting south Indians) are walking around, is attacked. The glass exteriors of the restaurant are smashed by a trouser-clad thug.
While these shots from the trailer have evoked ire online, the CBFC too has raised objections. The film certification body has reportedly sought the deletion of the controversial lines mentioned above, along with references to the demolition of Babri Masjid. However, it is not clear-cut as to which version or portions of the movie or the trailer the CBFC has objected to. The CBFC could have raised objections to the lines mentioned in the Marathi trailer, other unseen parts in the Hindi version or both.
However, speaking to News18, Shiv Sena Member of Parliament and co-producer of the film Sanjay Raut said that there would be no cuts in the film. "Balasaheb was controversial, but his thoughts gave direction to the country. We show him as he was. It is not a love story, right?" he says in response to what the CBFC's objections had been. When the reporter asked if he was saying that there will be no cuts, the MP said, "No cuts."
It is to be noted that Bal Thackeray's 46-year-long political life was premised on the anti-migrant sentiment. He advanced the xenophobic notion that south Indians arriving in Maharashtra and particularly, Mumbai, had ‘stolen’ jobs belonging to 'Marathi manoos' or sons of the Marathi soil.
The trailer of the film, which is also written by Sanjay Raut, exalts the Marathi nationalist as a 'fighter', whose 'life changed history' and whose 'courage changed lives'. Going by its trailer, the film seems to be a glorification of a politician who has been incarcerated multiple times for electoral malpractices and spewing hatred on Muslims.
Taking to Twitter, actor Siddharth termed the controversial dialogues 'hate speech' against south Indians:
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!— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) December 26, 2018