Nandita Das: Not putting Manto on pedestal


Speaking at the teaser launch of Manto along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rasika Dugal and Tahir Raj Bhasin, Nandita Das said Manto was not a message-driven film

Nandita Das
Nandita Das

Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das, who is gearing up for her next directorial venture Manto, has said she was not trying to put Sadat Hassan Manto, the author and playwright, on a pedestal. Speaking at the teaser launch of Manto along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rasika Dugal and Tahir Raj Bhasin, Nandita said Manto was not a message-driven film. “The idea is to tell a story for audience. We are not putting ‘Manto’ on a pedestal.”

“He was somebody who used to speak the truth despite all challenges he faced. For youth, it is extremely inspirational to see someone like him. I think it’s a film where the audience will be able to take home something and everyone will relate with his personality.” When asked how Nawazuddin has been able to play the character of Manto in the film, she said: “He has similar kind of personality in terms of views, anger, arrogance, sensitivity and humour. I think it was smooth ride for Nawazuddin to play this character. He used to tell me that he would not be able to do another film simultaneously because he had immersed himself so deep into the character of Manto.”

Nandita, on being asked, whether audience would be able to accept this across the border, she said: “It’s a story of a human being who happens to be a writer. There is no relation of borders between two countries. It’s a very universal story.” “I don’t think audience from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will not be able to relate with it, it’s very relatable story. I think everyone will relate with this film on different levels.

“We are not offending anybody,” she said. “Manto” is written and directed by Nandita Das. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular character along with Rasika Dugal and Tahir Raj Bhasin in lead roles. The film is produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures. “Manto” has been selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

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