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Not putting Manto on pedestal: Nandita Das- Cinema express

Not putting Manto on pedestal: Nandita Das

The director says her Manto is not a message-driven film

Published: 13th May 2018

Actor-filmmaker Nandita Das, whose directorial venture Manto is competing in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, 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 to his personality."

When asked how Nawazuddin has been able to play the character of Manto in the film, she said, "He has a similar kind of personality in terms of views, anger, arrogance, sensitivity, and humour. I think it was a 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."

On being asked whether the audience would be able to accept this across the border, Nandita said, "It's a story of a human being who happens to be a writer. It's a universal story. I think audience from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be able to relate to it, it's very relatable story. I think everyone will relate to this film on different levels. We are not offending anybody."

Manto is written and directed by Nandita Das. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role, along with Rasika Dugal and Tahir Raj Bhasin in lead roles. The film is produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.

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