'Manto' not a conventional biopic: Nandita Das

'Manto' not a conventional biopic: Nandita Das

Actor-director Nandita Das has said her upcoming film on Saadat Hasan Manto is not a conventional biopic as it chronicles four turbulent years of the writer's life before and after the Partition.

A feature film is not a documentary, 'Manto' contains nuances which some may notice, some may not, Das said.

"I tried to weave a story set in the period between 1946 and 1950, a tumultuous phase for the two countries as well as Manto," she said yesterday during a session of Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here.

The film is about people and the way they look at humanity in the worst of the situations, Das said.

"I tried to be very intimate about the way I showed the events in the film. Not all Partition stories are about big events," she said about her film, which has Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the titular role.

Asked about the reasons behind casting Siddiqui as Manto, Das said, "I wanted someone who can be very arrogant and selfish at one point of time and extremely vulnerable at another, someone who can portray a range of emotions through eyes," she said.

"We had worked together in Firaaq 10 years ago and he has this amazing ability to get into the skin of a character," she said.

Siddiqui, on his part, said he delved into the thought processes of Manto through his works and tried to imbibe his mannerisms.

"I stayed away from modern gadgets and spent time looking for things that was in one way or the other associated with the writer. Since there is no video available of Manto, I could take some liberty. A lot went into the preparation of the film but it was well-planned by the director," he added.

Manto was an acclaimed Urdu writer and playwright born in British India. He is best known for his stories about the Partition of the subcontinent following independence in 1947. PTI SUS RMS

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