Director : Nandita Das / 112 / India / Hindi, Urdu / 2018
Manto is based on the four most tumultuous and significant years (1946-1950) in the life of Saadat Hasan Manto, one of South Asia’s greatest short story writers. It is set during the Independence of India from the British, leading to the Partition of the country. As sectarian violence engulfs India, Manto is compelled to make the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay for the newly-born Pakistan. In Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends, unable to get his writings published and burdened by trials for alleged “obscene” writing. His increasing alcoholism and anguish take a toll on his family and lead him to a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, his works mirroring the harsh realities of the time. Facts and fiction overlap, blurring the lines between his works and the film’s main narrative. Manto is a story of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man trying to make sense of it all.
Nandita Das – Director/Scriptwriter
Producers – Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, Filmstoc Private Limited, HP Studios, Nandita Das Initiatives LLP
Kartik Vijay – Cinematographer
Sreekar Prasad – Editor
Sneha Khanwalkar – Music
Rita Ghosh – Art Director
Resul Pookutty – Sound Designer
Arunav Dutta – Sound Designer
It took me six years to research, script and film Manto. And finally Manto’s festival journey started this year at Cannes and continues to find deep resonance around the world. What drew me to Manto was his free spirit, honesty and courage to stand up to orthodoxy. Manto’s unflinching faith in the power of the written word resonated with my own compulsion to tell stories that need to be told. This film is my response to the issues we are grappling with. The intent of the film is to invoke “Mantoiyat” in all of us. The spirit of Manto is the spirit of the film.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui – Saadat Hasan Manto
Rasika Dugal – Safia Manto
Tahir Bhasin – Shyam Chadda