Monday February 18, 2019

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

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”.

Also read: BBC Bollywood dark secret nothing

“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)

 

Next Story

Bollywood Tells Stories About Love, But Also Highlights Stalking

Cinema gets a dose of creepiness in the name of love

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Image: IANS

Be it Varun Dhawan’s attempts to woo Alia Bhatt in “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, or Akshay Kumar following Bhumi Pednekar and clicking her photographs without her consent in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” or Shah Rukh Khan singing the famous “Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran” — Bollywood tells stories about love but also highlights stalking.

Social activist Ranjana Kumari blames cinema for creating a culture of stalking women.

“They show that initially women say ‘No’ but don’t take ‘No’ for a ‘No’. It is actually a ‘Yes’. It has been there since long. Stalking has been packaged in a romantic way,” Kumari told IANS.

“It conveys the superiority that men have over women. She, in any case, has to give in. It is a myth that is being perpetuated by creating this culture… She is still an object of his desire,” she added.

Actress Swara Bhasker, who appeared in “Raanjhanaa”, admitted that the Aanand L. Rai directorial glorified stalking.

Bollywood Actor Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan.

“When it came out, it got panned by feminists for glorifying stalking… For a long time, I refused to believe it and thought that it is not true… But then as time passed by, I was like, actually, maybe yes,” she said when she joined actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for an episode of her radio show.

According to psychologist Samir Parikh, films have an impact on people at some level or the other.

“When you see something being presented in a palatable manner to you, you feel it is okay to do it, so you get desensitised to it. You get disinhibited and it changes your perception of reality. People, especially youngsters and vulnerable ones, end up doing what they see their role models doing,” Parikh told IANS.

Also Read- Pakistan to Curb ‘Hate Speech’ on Social Media

“It is important to educate and upgrade people and give them the right support and guidance,” he said.

All is not fair in love, and it is time to put the lens on it as well. (IANS)