Acclaimed actor-filmmaker Nandita Das is trying to get late Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s daughters, Nighat Patel, Nuzhat Arshad and Nusrat Jalal, to India for the premiere of her film Manto.
She has approached the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to facilitate the visas so that they can attend the Indian premiere of the film, which traces the life of the writer.
“Throughout the journey, I have had the generous support of the Manto family who has shared many stories and much material without which I would not have been able to show the man, the father, the husband that he was. So it would mean a lot to me to be able to share the big day with them,” Nandita said in a statement.
“The special screenings are scheduled in Delhi and Mumbai, the two cities their father lived and has inspired some of his greatest works. I am just keeping my fingers crossed,” she added.
According to a source, the film’s premiere is scheduled for September 17 in Mumbai and September 19 in Delhi.
The film follows the most tumultuous years in the lives of the iconoclastic writer and those of the countries, India and Pakistan, which Manto lived and chronicled. Nuzhat says it is important for her to experience the film.
“Nandita worked very closely with the family in terms of the intricacies of Manto. On a personal level, she frequently communicated with me over email and phone as to how he was, his practices etc. She ensured the depiction of Manto would be as accurate as possible,” Nuzhat said.
Nusrat added, “I wish Nandita’s film every success and I hope it will make people on both sides of the divide think and absorb. There are lessons to be learnt from the brutality and ugliness of what happened in 1947.”
The film, co-produced by HP Studios, Filmstock and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, stars Rasika Dugal as Manto’s wife and Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rishi Kapoor and Divya Dutta in key roles.