Nawazuddin Siddiqui is playing the lead role in Balasaheb Thackeray’s biopic titled Thackeray. The actor had promised the audience that he will polish his spoken Marathi on the day of the teaser launch and he has been working hard on his dialect with diction coach Ashish Pathode, a specialist from National School of Drama. The film goes on floors on April 15.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Ashish Pathode opens up about how the actor is preparing for his role and his challenges in getting the dialect just right.
How are you teaching a non-Marathi speaking person to speak Marathi like Balasaheb Thackeray, who was known for his strong oratory skills?
The way Balasaheb used to talk, his mannerisms were very unique. He came across as an impulsive speaker as if his speeches seemed to be not planned. The biggest challenge for Siddiqui is to emulate the Shiv Sena founder’s deep baritone. Balasaheb’s upbringing and surrounding was Marathi literature, he was inspired by his writer father, humorist and writer P L Deshpande, he was from that from that generation, so his language and thoughts were very rich. His comic time was also literature oriented and sharp. So we are working on these things while working with Nawaz. Then we are working on the breathing pattern, Nawaz’s voice is husky, and Balasaheb’s voice was sharp, more nasal.
We are also working on gestures and posture. Every word that came out of Balasaheb was fiery, and his speeches were interactive. We are preparing Nawaz on how Thackeray would speak normally, to his family members, because that was way different from his ‘on-stage’ language.
How good or bad a student is Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
He is a very good actor and he has a good hold on Marathi as he has been in Mumbai for many years now. His grasping power is brilliant, so he is not finding it very difficult. Intonations are difficult for him because even if Hindi and Marathi are Devnagri script, Hindi is smoother to speak. So right now we are just working on making his tongue and lip movements correct, so his Marathi words sound like Balasaheb is actually talking, the rhythm is right. We are making sure that he speaks the language as naturally as Balasaheb used to.
How many hours does Nawaz train with you on daily basis?
Nawaz sits with me for three hours every day. He is very bright, so grasps things pretty easily, and very fast. In Hindi ‘ja’, ‘za’ are pronounced different, but in Marathi it is ‘ja’, so these things, Nawaz finds difficult. Otherwise, he has already learnt all the speeches, so we don’t have to work on that, we just have to work on how to deliver those speeches in a way that it is believable that Balasaheb is delivering those speeches himself.