'Thackeray', 'Manikarnika' to clash this R-Day weekend

Poster of film Thackeray.

Two much-awaited films on the lives of late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and the Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi will clash on the silver screen on Friday. 

'Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi', biographical period drama, stars three-time national award winner Kangana Ranaut, who had also partly directed the film. The film is produced by Zee Studios in association with Kamal Jain and Nishant Pitti and has a big star cast - which include Atul Kulkarni, Jisshu Sengupta, Suresh Oberoi, Danny Denzonpa, Vaibhav Tatwawaadi and Ankita Lokhande. 
 
Thackeray is a bilingual film written and directed by Abhijit Panse and made simultaneously in Marathi and Hindi. It stars the talented Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the role of late Thackeray, popularly known as Balasaheb and Hinduhridaysamrat, while Amrita Rao plays the role of Meenatai Thackeray. Produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the story is penned by Sanjay Raut, the executive editor of Saamana, the party mouthpiece and a Rajya Sabha member. 
 
The political circles of Maharashtra are awaiting the film on Thackeray, the powerful orator and charismatic leader.  The film coincides with the 93rd birth anniversary of Thackeray - that fell on 23 January and comes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 
 
"There is no fiction, only truth in Thackeray. Balasaheb's life is an open book. You all know everything about him. There was no need for us to create a story or add masala to the film. My experiences with Balasaheb and the way I saw him, I have tried to translate that into the film," stated Raut, whose family co-produced the film. 
 
What needs to be seen is whether Thackeray generates any controversy.  A few weeks ago, Tamil and Telugu star Siddharth tweeted against the biopic’s anti-South Indian tone. “Nawazuddin has repeated 'Uthao lungi bajao pungi' 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!" he had tweeted. 
 
Incidentally, ahead of the release, Kangana paid tributes to Thackeray. The period drama is based on the life and struggles of the legendary Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and her war against the British East India Company, during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
 
"Historicals have a great future because of their wide canvas and large mounting. Just reading history is very staid but if you see it on the big screen with its larger than life performances and colour, it becomes infotainment because you tend to learn history and get entertained as well and that’s the reason for the popularity of historical films," said  Sushilkumar Agarwal, CEO, Ultra Media & Entertainment Group. 
 

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'Thackeray', 'Manikarnika' to clash this R-Day weekend

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