Thackeray Review: A Blind Love Letter to the Shiv Sena Supremo


Thackeray Review: A Blind Love Letter to the Shiv Sena Supremo

Illustration: Arati Gujar


hackeray is an alarming, and deeply problematic film, but this was to be expected — its producer is Sanjay Raut, the executive editor of Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna, who represents Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha, while its director is Abhijit Panse, a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader. Raut is credited for the script, while Panse has written the screenplay. Neither has made any attempt to hide the fact that the movie is basically their love letter to the late Bal Thackeray, the controversial leader who shaped the political landscape of Maharashtra from the 1960s right until his death in 2012, and possibly even beyond.

But even the producer-director duo’s clearly articulated and unabashed allegiance can’t prepare you for the relish with which the film glorifies the ugliest parts of Bal Thackeray’s legacy. You walk into the theatre expecting a movie that attempts to justify and explain the decades of violence perpetuated by the Sena supremo, but what you’re subjected to is not a benevolent cover-up, but an ode to his ruthless and power hungry ways. The message is clear: Bal Thackeray was not misunderstood, he was right, and we must all be in thrall of him.