WEB DESK: The 46-year-old director, Nandita Das will once again assume the role for her next project, titled Manto. Based on the life of Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto, the film will focus on his non-fictional work, and has Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the lead.
As the film goes on floors shortly, Das talks about why she chose the prolific Urdu writer as the subject of her second directorial project and how she connects with him. “I first read Manto when I was in college and was struck by his simple yet profound narratives. I have many favourite Manto works, please don’t ask me to choose.”
In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Das revealed the plans she has in mind for her upcoming movie. “The film follows the most interesting seven years in the life of Manto (from 1946 to 1952) and that of the two cities he inhabits during those years — Lahore and Mumbai.”
“The film is not based on any one book or any specific work. It has taken me three years of research, along with my writer Ali Mir, to tell the story that seems most relevant to our times and me. The spirit of Manto is the spirit of the film.” tells Das.
“Manto is a challenging role and very few actors have the nuances required to play Manto. I am glad I have found Nawaz to play this character, which explores a vast range of emotions and is full of contradictions. Also, I have finalised Rasika Dugal to play Manto’s wife, Safia. Nawaz and Rasika will give power-packed and authentic performances.” Nandita reveals about the characters she casts for Manto.
When asked if she believes there is anything in common of the writer and herself, she said, “It is his fearlessness and a deep concern for the human condition that I have always felt most deeply connected to. No part of human existence remained untouched or taboo for him. For him, the only identity that mattered was being human.”
She was also inquired on how she viewed Manto’s controversial work, to which she replied, “He was irreverent and had an irrepressible desire to poke a finger in the eye of the establishment, often with sharp humour. He was tried six times on charges of obscenity, both in India and Pakistan, for his bold stories.”
With inputs from The Indian Express