The trailer of Manto is out. Based on the life of Saadat Hassan Manto, the film is directed by Nandita Das. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The trailer which released on August 14 starts off with Manto saying, “Why can’t we show things the way they are in reality?”
A seven-minute clip titled ‘In Defence of Freedom’ had gone viral last year. In the clip, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who essays the role of Manto, the Urdu author who came under fire for his provocative works, could be seen lecturing a class about the importance of staying honest while writing.
The prelude, combined with the opening line of the trailer, confirms the suspicions about the theme of the movie – Manto’s fight for free speech and right to expression. Siddiqui is practically in every second frame with the remaining ones devoted to giving a glimpse of the other characters.
Every dialogue uttered by Manto is a statement of sorts. The trailer closes with a line “Speak what you have to” thus capturing the essence of Manto’s life, who was tried in courts several times for obscenity in his short stories. The trailer also touches upon topics such as intolerance; plight of women and Manto’s take on the same; the Independence struggle; freedom and its meaning; Partition.
Manto’s personal life also flashes towards the end. Obscenity charges levelled against his story ‘Thanda Gosht’; the stand adopted by his wife, Safia; and the legal tussles he got caught up in. Also, Javed Akhtar plays an advocate in the movie. The trailer ends with the lines from Manto’s Toba Tek Singh, ‘Upar di gur gur di annexe di dhiyana di mung di daal of di Pakistan and Hindustan…’
The movie also stars Rasika Duggal as Manto’s wife and Tahir Raj Bhasin as movie star Sundar Shyam Chadda, Manto’s friend, confidant and inspiration for many works. The movie also features, Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta and Shashank Arora.
The movie releases on September 21.