Nandita Das recently showcased her second film "Manto" at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Nandita's film was released in the Un Certain Regard section at the prestigious film festival. The film opened to a packed house and got great reviews.
What is the film all about?
Saadat Hasan Manto was an Indian-Pakistani short story writer. Nandita's film follows the story of this prolific writer during 4 years of his life. Though Manto lived and worked in Mumbai, he left his beloved 'Bombay' and moved to Lahore post independence. This decision was an outcome that Manto had neither hoped nor planned for. But the religious divide that the whole subcontinent was embroiled in at that time, led to this decision. But after moving to Lahore, Manto felt isolated and friendless. He never stopped writing, but he turned to alcoholicism. The film also talks about freedom of expression - Manto was tried in a court for indecency in his works.
This film is important because the first few years after independence were very difficult for both the countries, especially for the millions who were forced to flee what they had colled their homeland for centuries. The film traces this very difficult time for one such writer.