Charming Bollywood actress –model Amrita Rao seemed anxious, excited and yet “overwhelmed“ that she was singled out by the makers of the bio-pic 'Thackeray' to play the dignified yet resilient Thackeray matriarch, Meenatai. It became a known fact that Nawazuddin Siddiqui would play Balasaheb Thackeray, but who would play Meenatai was the major concern.
Talking about the role, Amrita says, “When producer Sanjay Raut and director Abhijit Panse approached me for the film, they told me that I was their first and last choice because of my dignified public image that I’ve created with my body of decent films. I felt proud of that because, I have always chosen to have an esteemed identity of my own and kept away from the rat-race and never stooped to conquer.”
What were the biggest pressures faced by Amrita in portraying ‘Meenatai’? “To begin with there were no reference points or sources, although she is a real-life revered personality. My prime challenge was to fully ensure that the audiences should connect with me only as Meenatai ageing gracefully from 28 to 60 years and not as actress Amrita. For me acting is all about reacting, since I have had no formal training in acting,” reveals the outspoken Rao who while browsing through photographs discovered that her facial expressions were uncannily identical to that of Meenatai.
Incidentally, Amrita had earlier played a role inspired by legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar in a TV show titled ‘Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchan Hai’ (2016).