Manto the film follows the most tumultuous four years in the life of Manto and that of the two countries he inhabits – India and Pakistan. In Bombay’s seedy-shiny film world, Manto and his stories are widely read and accepted. But as sectarian violence engulfs the nation, Manto makes the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay. In Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends and unable to find takers for his writings. His increasing alcoholism leads him into a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, without dilution. This is the tale of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man who tries to make sense of it all.Wikipedia
There is a gap, a curious distance, between the vision and the execution, and much of the film, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, resides in it.
Nawaduddin Siddiqui and Rasika Dugal deliver internalised performances in director Nandita Das’ biopic.
Director Nandita Das beautifully stitches five of the famous Urdu author’s short stories into the narrative of his life’s definitive five-year period
It’s a film that will make you think, hurt you and will bring you back to your ideals. Nawazuddin Siddiqui has stripped himself of all the apprehensions and has dived into Manto’s world with unmatched energy, wit and personality. Far from Wasseypur, he has transformed into a writer who has lost everything in the No Man’s Land between India and Pakistan.Be a part of his poignant, heart-breaking journey.
Manto is quite realistic in terms of changing dynamics of a relationship - be it friendship, marriage or even life as a whole. That is truly the crux and the best part of the film - because it stays true to what life as a whole is - bunch of roses with thorns.
If Manto, the film, falls short of being a masterpiece, it's ironically because Nandita Das the filmmaker does not quite crack the Manto code herself: she doesn't quite see her subject with the same wholeness that Manto saw his people. ''This imperfection in the film, in a way, becomes the greatest tribute to Manto
Nawazuddin Siddiqui Is Phenomenally Good As The Anguished Writer...Nandita Das' film can be described as the Garam Hawa of our times
Watch the film for the director's flawless interweaving of Manto's poignant writing into her script and watch it for the words — spoken and unspoken.
This is a sketchy biopic, which might resonate with those who are already familiar with Manto’s life and want to see it enacted on celluloid.But for those who are unaware of him and his work, “Manto” isn’t an ideal introduction to the celebrated writer.
If biopics or Manto float your boat, check this one out.
Nandita Das film is a brilliant portrait of a self-destructive creator...
Nandita retains this honesty, and even celebrates it. She also spells out the consequences brutally. Her latest piece of work may not be for the masses, but that in no way robs her film of any merit
The film will appeal to people who love history and are well-versed with Manto's writings. The film enables you to travel back in time as cinematographer Kartik Vyas's lens captures and recreates the era replete with sepia tones to perfection. The atmospheric lighting further adds to the authenticity.The mellifluous and mournful score by Zakir Hussain imparts an interesting dimension to the narrative.Overall, Manto, rooted in history, is a treat to watch.
Nandita Das’ film underlines the continued relevance of Manto’s words whether to do with Hindu-Muslim unity or freedom of expression. Most of all, it’s about his aching love for a city he felt most at home in.
Audience Reviews for Manto
Manto is one of the bravest pieces of cinema helmed by a woman director. I acknowledge this, since nothing like 'Manto' has been actually seen: it has been made in a way so upbeat, written so beautifully- that you consistently feel its multi-dimensioned resonance.
Nandita Das's 'Manto' is imperfect as a biographical film. Like any other docu-drama about Saadat Hasan Manto's dramatic life, its aspects are all focused on his work, his times and the people who were involved in his life. However, what sets all of them and this one apart is the seamless thread which powers its story-telling, and the smart castinc choice: it has just on-point casting: Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manto is a unique blend of the cinematic hero ajd a genuine, middle-class men with beauty of words as a profession, Rasika Duggal as Manto's wife is affecting, and there is an ensemble cast with repetitive cameos. Nandita's script is also a joyous period sequence, it disrupts frequently as it also translates Manto's stories to the screens. She tries to echo why in this age, when the movies are going on the less travelled, 'obscene' path, there was a famous, dignified writer who was once defamed for writing obscene stories.
Manto, a film by Nandita Das, is a biopic on the Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Manto lived during 1912-1955. This film depicts his life especially during pre and post-independence days and partition time seamlessly interspersed with five of his most famous and poignant short stories: Dus Rupay, 100-Watt Bulb, Khol Do, Thanda Gosht and Toba Tek Singh. The film narrates his life through these stories. Manto was known to write unpleasant truths of our society, which people generally did not prefer to write or talk about. And his writings made him a controversial writer too. Manto is best known for his stories of partition days which very genuinely covers what people went through those days. Nandita’s attempts need applause for the way she has depicted the various events, its contexts in Manto’s life through his works. Manto was an unapologetic writer and he used to pour his experiences, views in his writings. He had to even face court trials in lieu of the obscenity in his literary works, was accused of writing materials not worth of set benchmark of literature. But Manto believed in what he wrote since his writings mirrored the society. He even wrote about prostitutes, pimps, subversive sexual slavery of women etc. The film Manto begins in Bombay pre-independence and continues to his life in Lahore when he and his family shifted to Pakistan post-independence. The film recreates the old Bombay and Lahore. Kartik Vijay’s cinematography justifies the feel and era of the film. It is painful to watch the film since it covers the reality. The tragedy is that things have not changed much even after seven decades of freedom. Manto’s stories reflect lot of happenings of our today’s society too. Certainly, the feel after watching Manto is that it could have had more depth and coverage of his life, but one would feel the pain, turmoil, the transformations of Manto and his growing sense of isolation during the most definitive period of his life. When Manto in the film feels the pain of leaving Bombay and misses everything he had in India, viewers are bound to feel the same pain and agony. The film not only narrates about Manto in his biopic but through Manto and his stories, it shows the glimpse of the trauma India and Pakistan went through post partition. Even though this biopic leaves one with the feeling of wanting more, but it certainly needs to be watched.