After successfully screened across film festivals and universities in India, Pakistan and even the United States, Sarmad Sultan’s “Manto” is to make a commercial release across India’s cinemas.
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, the director as well as the main lead of the film Manto announced the film to be released in India at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival, stretching it beyond academic platforms for a commercial release. Highlighting the resurgence of Pakistani Film Industry internationally, the film has been screened at multiple venues such as the Goa International Film Festival, the New Delhi Film Festival, and the Kolkata Film Festival.
This Saturday on the 29th of November, Sarmad took the stage with Nandita Daas at Khyaal Festival 2015 in Lahore to highlight his work on ‘Manto’. Nandita Das, who herself is a fan of Saadat Hassan Manto, will also be following up with directing her own film on Asia’s urdu-literature icon. Recently she announced at an appearance at NFDC Film Bazaar that Irrfan Khan, being a fan of his writings has expressed interest to play the lead role. She is interested to film some of the scenes in Lahore, home to Manto’s iconic residence, the Lakshmi Mansion. Das hasn’t seen Manto in order to evade a subconscious impact on the making of her version on Manto, which will also cover a segment of his life in Mumbai prior to his migration to Pakistan after Independence.
In Kolkata, while promoting the film with co-star Nimra Bucha, Sarmad highlighted that Manto reflects upon the issue of the artists of the modern world for facing troubles in expressing freedom of thought and free speech. Nimra supported his stance by adding that the situation hasn’t changed much for artists on both sides of the border, helping the audience grasp the message that it is indeed cultural issue to be faced for the entire South Asian community.
Saadat Hassan Manto is regarded as the most prolific short story writer in the history of South Asia, hailing from the dawn of independence era of the Indian subcontinent. His contributions in the field of Urdu literature also include a novel, personal sketches, essays and radio plays. The film covers the last 7 years of his life after the partition of Pakistan till his death in 1955, shedding light on him being brought under public scrutiny politically as well as socially.