Nandita Das recently gave us a sneak peek of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s brilliant performance in Saadat Hasan Manto through a short film titled Defence of Freedom and we are thrilled, to say the least.
Das, as a part of the India Tomorrow initiative, released the short film at the India Today Conclave and made a bold statement about the significance of free speech in the society.
The video shows Nawazuddin in and as Manto, addressing a class full of students and talking about the charges laid against him and other literary legends for their progressive and realistic writing.
While the Raees actor’s uncanny resemblance to Manto is impressive, the troubles he had gone through to get into the skin of the character are also known to all.
Speaking about his preparations for the role, the 42-year-old actor had told a leading daily, “Thanks to Nandita’s research on Manto, I feel I know him well enough to get into his mind and body. I need to dress the way he did, and as long as I’m playing him, I need to live my life the way he did. Writing words that created magic on paper.”
For Das who had always wanted to make a film like Manto feels that the spirit of the writer (Manto) is the spirit of the movie had said in a recent interview, “I have always wanted to make a movie on Manto. What drew me to the writer was his free spirit and courage to stand up against orthodoxy of all kinds. He wrote with a rare sensitivity and empathy for his characters. As I plunged deeper into Manto’s life, I realised that it felt like I was reading about my father, an artist. I feel he is most relevant to our time.”
“The film follows the most interesting seven years in the life of Manto (from 1946 to 1952) and that of the two cities he inhabits during those years ‘ Lahore and Mumbai. So, the film is not based on any one book or any specific work. It has taken me three years of research, along with my writer Ali Mir, to tell the story that seems most relevant to our times and me. The spirit of Manto is the spirit of the film,” she added.