Veteran actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui along with Nandita Das, Rasika Duggal, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Viacom 18’s Ajit Andhare launched the teaser of Manto at Cannes and hosted a special online interactive session with media here in Mumbai.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is playing the titular role in Manto, a biopic on the troubled life of writer Saadat Hasan Manto, shared his experience working on the film. He said, “I am excited about the Manto. I haven’t seen the film so I will watch it for the first time. My experience on the film was great, as I didn’t have to do a lot, because our lady Manto (Nandita Das) has done everything for us. She told us what to do and we did it”
Talking about preparing for the role, Nawaz added, “As an actor, I prepared same as every role but the actual preparation was done by Nandita Das. She had prepared for Manto for many years. About his anger, the way he walked and looked, she had done in-depth research about the poet, which helped me as an actor to portray Manto”
Manto director Nandita Das said, “Nawazuddin Siddiqui immersed into the role all the way, he is a lot like Manto. His anger, thinking, humor, arrogance and a little bit of sensitivity, a lot of things are in common in Nawaz and Manto. He immersed himself in the character very smoothly. He was so immersed in the character that he called me and told me that he won’t be able to do any other role, as he is completely involved into Manto”
Actor Rasika Duggal, who plays the role of Manto’s wife Safia, also shared her experience working on the project. She said, “Definitely a very beautiful experience working on the film. It is very rare to find a project like this in your career as an actor, which I will cherish for a long time. Research on Safia was also done by Nandita. She interacted with Safia’s daughter and sister in Pakistan and got input about her story and life. So my character was scratched out very well on the script”
Manto is based on the 1940s post-Independence period of India. This Nandita Das directorial has also been selected for this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.