Even though short, Nandita Das’s stay in Bollywood exists as a shining milestone. Her foray in Bollywood dented the rigid boundary that delineated the realms of “Commercial” and “Social” cinema. With her beautiful dusky skin, and everyday woman looks, she brought a earthly feel to her characters. Characters that were bold, and controversial and which made us question the boundaries of morality. Even at the risk of getting typecast she took the roles that nobody else dared touching.
So it isn’t surprising that her first directorial venture to be any less bold than she had promised as an actress. Manto, directed by Nandita Das, is a biopic on Indian writer Saadat Hasan Manto .
A controversial writer of short stories and plays, he was tried six times for obscene content of his work. Termed obscene because his writing showed mirror to this society. And we all know from our history such people have always been prosecuted. The ones who put mirror to the society.
The trailer looks absolutely breathtaking. Nawzuddin Siddqui looks exceptional in the role of title character. The sepia tones and bright rusty looks bring out the times around Independence when Manto shook the foundation of Indian Society through his writing. He wrote about topics like religion, sexuality that were really sensitive around that time. But he never worried about what society allowed.
Below are the ten must read quotes by Manto that will give you a glimpse of Manto’s thoughts and ideologies. Follow that by the trailer of Manto at the end of the post.
1. “War has brought inflation even to the graveyard.”
2.If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty. With my stories, I only expose the truth.
3. A man remains a man no matter how poor his conduct. A woman, even if she were to deviate for one instance, from the role given to her by men, is branded a whore.
4.”If you cannot bear these stories then society is unbearable. Who am I to remove the clothes of this society, which itself is naked.”
5.I feel like I am always the one tearing everything up and forever sewing it back together.
6.Some people kiss as if they were eating watermelon.
7.“We’ve been hearing this for some time now — Save India from this, save it from that. The fact is that India needs to be saved from the people who say it should be saved.”
8.“For me, remembrance of things past has always been a waste of time, and what’s the point of tears? I don’t know. I’ve always been focussed on today. Yesterday and tomorrow hold no interest for me. What had to happen, did, and what will happen, will.”
9.“Her pores were like those of an orange, its skin filled with juice, which, if you applied the slightest pressure, would squirt up into your eyes. She was that fresh.”
10.“Hindustan had become free. Pakistan had become independent soon after its inception but man was still slave in both these countries — slave of prejudice … slave of religious fanaticism … slave of barbarity and inhumanity.”