A molotov cocktail dances down a flight of steps and ominously stops next to a bawling baby. Shop owners down shutters in panic. A cop writhes on the ground with his uniform on fire.

The opening of the trailer of Thackeray, the biopic on late Shiv Sena founder and supreme leader Balasaheb Thackeray, is as gripping and portentous as Bombay (now Mumbai) of the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s when one man’s writ loomed over India’s financial capital.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, an actor with an ideology very different from Thackeray, is however inseparable from the person he plays on screen. Nawaz enacts the man’s mannerisms — the grandiose pranam at the famous Shivaji Park rallies, the rudraksha-wrapped hand on the railing, the sweep of the shawl — to perfection.

The dialogues are sharp. But then, Thackeray himself was known as one of the bluntest and wittiest politicians of India, besides being a really accomplished cartoonist. A scriptwriter can hardly better Thackeray’s own dialogues.

The lawyer asks: “Mumbai mein huey dango mein aap ka haath tha? (You had a hand in the Mumbai riots?)”

Thackeray brusquely quips: “Haath nahin, paon tha (Legs, not hand).”

While there are riveting images of the turbulent trade union days and the birth and rise of the Shiv Sena, the trailer shows Thackeray — the force behind the numerous trade shutdowns, the 1993 Mumbai Hindu-Muslim riots and persecution of south Indians and north Indians with his Marathi manoos politics — in a largely flattering light.

The movie is written by Sena leader Sanjay Raut and directed by Abhijit Panse is unlikely to be much different. But faithfulness to history apart, the movie certainly seems to capture the very essence of the ‘Hindu Hruday Samrat’ quite faithfully.

The film may be set a couple of decades ago, but the issues, especially Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi, are burning even today. Which makes this movie like the Molotov cocktail before the 2019 general elections.