Tuesday October 23, 2018

Nandita Das Says “Manto” Was Most Challenging Yet Interesting Journey

It took me four years to research and write the script

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Nandita Das Says
Nandita Das Says "Manto" Was Most Challenging Yet Interesting Journey, Flickr
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Acclaimed actress and filmmaker Nandita Das says making “Manto” was a most challenging yet interesting journey.

“It has been the most challenging journey for me, but probably the most interesting one too. This by far has been the biggest learning curve for me. There were challenges I faced at almost every step of the process,” Nandita told IANS in an email interview.

“It took me four years to research and write the script and two years to get funding, cast, crew, locations and all the preparation to shoot and get the film out. The genesis of the idea of the film was in 2012, Manto’s centenary celebration, and now it finally premiered in Cannes.”

After having helmed “Firaaq” in 2008, Nandita went behind the camera to trace the life of writer Saadat Hasan Manto, to be portrayed by Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the film, expected to release in India in September.

Manto, who died in 1955 at the age of 43, penned an impressive body of work touching various genres.

He churned out about 22 collections of stories comprising a novel, essays, personal sketches and movie scripts. Out of his literary gems was a story on Mirza Ghalib, a poet who is often compared with the stature of Shakespeare. His work also gained attention for weaving stories around the ordeal of partition as well as sexuality. The film provides a window into his life during the tumultuous partitioning of British colonial India into two new nations — India and Pakistan.

“Manto”, co-produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, was the only Indian film in Un Certain Regard category at the 71st Cannes Film Festival. It will also be screened at Sydney Film Festival, which started on June 6 and will go on till June 17.

Nandita says she was “deeply involved with every department and have learnt so much in the process”.

Nandita Das
Nandita Das, flickr

“After all I never went to a film school or assisted any director so everything was being learnt on the job and I was relying mostly on my creative instinct and life experiences.”

On her experience at the fest, she said: “I have been attending Cannes since I was invited in the main jury in 2005. Then again in 2013 in the short film jury. Including more recently, to raise funds for ‘Manto’.

“Other than these two opportunities, I have been there several times as a film lover. Apart from it being the most celebrated festival, it truly manages to combine great cinema and a thriving platform for filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world. While you of course wish your film to be premiered in Cannes, one is aware that every filmmaker wishes that too. The competition is extremely fierce. And ‘Manto’ is not a typical “festival film”.

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“The references and context is not always easy for foreigners to understand. I di’n’t know till the day they officially announced the list. It was the only Indian film in the main official sections and so it is a huge honour. I am most delighted that ‘Manto’ has started its journey in Cannes.” (IANS)

 

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Amritsar Train Tragedy Leaves Bollywood Industry in Shock

Here's how the celebrities reacted:

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Anil Kapoor, Amritsar
Amritsar train tragedy: Bollywood shocked, calls for better safety. Twitter

The deplorable train tragedy in Amritsar in which 60 people were crushed to death and several others injured, brings the focus to how safety in public places needs to be taken more seriously in the country, say Bollywood celebrities who have sent out prayers for the victims.

The film fraternity expressed shock over the incident which took place on the festival of Dussehra on Friday. A 700 strong crowd was watching a huge Ravana effigy go up in flames amid exploding crackers when on the Joda Phatak track near Dhobi Ghat the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU passenger train heading to Hoshiarpur from Amritsar came hurtling down around 7 p.m.

In just 10-15 seconds, it left behind a heap of crushed and dismembered bodies.

Here’s how the celebrities reacted:

Farhan Akhtar: Saddened to hear about the loss of life in Amritsar. Safety in public spaces has to be taken a lot more seriously. Deepest condolences to all families affected by this tragedy.

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt. Wikimedia Commons

Anil Kapoor: A tragic incident that could have been avoided if only. Sending my thoughts and prayers to the families of the deceased and wishing a speedy recovery for the ones injured.

Alia Bhatt: The Amritsar train accident is heartbreaking. Terrible thing to have happened. This is just another example our extremely poor attitude towards caution and safety. Prayers for all those suffering.

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Shekhar Kapur: Absolutely horrific tragedy. Heart goes to the kin of those that dies and injured. Let’s not politicise this tragic event that has left more than 60 dead and huge numbers seriously injured… obviously there will be an inquiry later.

Diana Penty: Absolutely shocked at hearing the news of the train accident in Amritsar. I just cannot fathom how something like this could have happened. My deepest condolences to all the families that have lost their loved ones. Love and prayers. (IANS)