Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui said today that he is grateful for getting the opportunity to play the role of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray in a biopic.
Starring Nawazuddin in the titular role, the biopic penned by Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, will be directed by Abhijit Panse.
Speaking at the launch of a teaser of the film on Thackeray, Nawazuddin said, "It's an important day for me today as the teaser of the film is launched. I have got the opportunity to play the role of great personality like him, I think any actor would have agreed to play his role."
The teaser was launched here by superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
"I am thankful and grateful to Sanjay Raut, Uddhav Thackeray, Abhijit for the film and Bachchan sir for launching the teaser. I am sure Abhijit and we would take this biopic upto the mark," Nawazuddin, who is shooting in Mauritius, said via video conference.
"Everyone would be thinking, how can I speak Marathi, let me tell you, Bal Thackeray sahab would be giving me inspiration and would be showering his blessings (on me) to play the part," he said, in Marathi.
Bachchan said he was grateful for being invited for the teaser launch. He said a three-hour film will be too short to bring Thackeray's illustrious life on-screen.
"I don't think Balasaheb's life can be shown in three hours. I wish there is a series made on him of three-four hours, for his personality, work, life is much beyond a film. I feel it should be shown in a web series of many episodes. I congratulate and wish Sanjay Raut the best for this film.
"If I am required for the film I would love to be part of it in any capacity. I will always be ready to contribute to this film, in every way possible," Bachchan said.
Bachchan said he looked at Thackeray as a father figure.
"We were very close to each other, we were more like family. I respect him a lot," he said.
The "Pink" star recalled that when he got married, Thackeray had called him saying he wants to meet his newly wedded wife Jaya Bachchan.
Bachchan said Thackeray stood by him in his tough times.
"I was hurt during the shoot of my film 'Coolie' and was hospitalised in a critical state in Bengaluru and when I was being brought to Mumbai, days weren't good due to monsoon. I did not get an ambulance at that time, due to rain, but Balasaheb's Shiv Sena ambulance was available. If this did not happen, I could have been more in danger," he said.
"There were instances in my life when there were some allegations on me, Balasaheb used to often call me and ask if it is true or not, he used to call me home, saying I want to talk to you.
"One such incident happened when there were allegations on me and my family and Balasaheb called me at his home and asked what is the truth, I told him I am talking truth, he told me don't be afraid, I am with you. No one stood by me as much as he did," the veteran actor recalled.
The "Piku" actor said he was saddened to see Thackeray on deathbed and was praying some miracle happens so that he could be saved.
"I got an opportunity to meet him. I was there with Uddhav, Aditya (Thackeray) and another person. We were only praying for him because we wanted him to live long with us. I never wanted to see him in this state, it was a tough time to see him like that.
"I was surprised to see my picture in his room, next to his head. I was stunned and that moment has been captured for life," Bachchan said.
The biopic will release on January 23, 2019.