Nawazuddin Siddiqui in ‘Thackeray’. Image Credit: Supplied

Politician and film producer Sanjay Raut, who is also the writer of the forthcoming film ‘Thackeray’ based on Bal Thackeray, the foudner of right-wing political party Shiv Sena, says that though there is a perception that the late politician was “anti-Muslim”, it is not true.

The producer was present along with the cast and crew of the film for the launch of the song album.

Asked if Thackeray disliked and maintained a distance from the Muslim community, Raut said: “Bala saab was never an anti-Muslim man. He was a true patriot. He was one of those lovers of the nation and people’s person that never allowed caste and religion to come in between…

“People asked us why we cast Nawazuddin [Siddiqui] bhai [brother] as saab [sir] in the film. I would say that this is the biggest salute from us to the ideology of Bala saab. Also, note that Nakash Aziz sang the title song of ‘Thackeray’ because we believe that saab kept merit beyond religion.”

Calling Thackeray the “biggest nationalist”, Raut mentioned that “his vision was to bring people together for the development of the nation”.

The event was also attended by Siddiqui, actress Amrita Rao, Nakash, composers Rohan-Rohan and lyricist Manoj Yadav, among others.

The film is releasing before India’s general elections. Asked if the story will influence people’s mind to vote for a particular political party, Raut said: “Look that film ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ is made based on Sanjaya Baru’s book. But our film is not based on any book, it is a life story. This is not a propaganda film. Like the way we watched films on Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, we will watch this film on Thackeray saab.”

Thackeray’s Uddhav Thackeray and grandson Aaditya Thackeray were also present at the event.

“We are releasing it between 1200 and 1300 screens in India. It includes Marathi and Hindi. Overseas... we are attempting around 400 screens,” said Ajit Andhare, chief operating officer of Viacom18 Studios.

‘Thackeray’ is releasing in India on January 25.