Irrfan Khan, not Nawazuddin Siddiqui was the original choice to play Thackeray, reveals casting director
Thackeray casting director Rohan Mapuskar says producer Sanjay Raut had them realise that Nawazuddin Siddiqui would be better suited for titular role
Nawazuddin Siddiqui's uncanny resemblance and nuanced performance as Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in the film Thackeray is earning him praises. However as revealed to Mid-day by the film's casting director Rohan Mapuskar, Siddiqui wasn't the original choice for the role. Mapuskar confessed that it was Irrfan Khan who was first considered to portray Bal Thackeray.
"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," said Mapuskar to Mid-day. However, they had to opt for another name, considering the actor's unavailability who was busy with another film and could take up the role only after two to three months.
Sanjay Raut, who has written and produced Thackeray, was instrumental in bring Siddiqui on board. Following discussions, the team felt that Siddiqui would be a good choice for role as compared to Irrfan. "Zeroing in on him was a consensual decision." said Mapuskar.
He further stated that selection of Amrita Rao for Meentai Thackeray was not the 'first choice' either. The makers initially wanted to cast Rasika Duggal. Given the latter had already featured with Siddiqui in Manto, Mapuskar wanted a fresh, and relevant actor to play wife to his protagonist.
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