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Not Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan was the original choice for 'Thackeray'

Rohan Mapuskar, the casting director of Thackeray, recently revealed that Irrfan Khan and Rasika Dugal were the original choices to play Bal Thackeray and Meena Thackeray

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Not Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan was the original choice for 'Thackeray'
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Nawazuddin Siddiqui's uncanny resemblance to Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray in his biopic 'Thackeray' has won him several accolades. But did you know that he was not the original choice for the role?

In an interview with MidDay, casting director Rohan Mapuskar revealed that it was Irrfan Khan who was first considered for the part. If things had gone according to plan, it would be him playing Balasaheb Thackeray on screen. However, the makers were forced to look for an alternative because of the actor's unavailability. 

"Director Abhijit Panse, Sanjay Raut and I were brainstorming on who we'd like to cast and were contemplating [roping in] Irrfan. We had [superimposed] his image to see if it matched that of Mr Thackeray, and were convinced," Rohan said, adding, "Irrfan, who was busy with another film, said he could only consider it after two to three months."

It was 'Thackeray' writer, producer and staunch 'Shiv Sainik' Sanjay Raut who brought in Nawazuddin Siddiqui into the scene. He told us that during certain pandals [rallies], Mr Thackeray would be seated with the karyakartas on the floor. Following a 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," Rohan said.

Interestingly, Amrita Rao was also not the first choice for Meena Thackeray's part. The makers had initially approached Rasika Dugal for the role. However, since she was already paired opposite Nawazuddin in Nandita Das's 'Manto', they ruled her out. 

"We had arrived a day prior than scheduled to meet Amrita for the film, despite which she re-organised her meetings to talk to us, instead of [turning us away]. This act reminded me of how maasaheb [Meena] would treat her workers, ensuring that she fed them, no matter when they arrived to meet her," Rohan said.

 

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