Manto : My stories are mirrors for society to see itself
My stories are mirrors for society to see itself,” asserts author Saadat Hasan Manto(Nawazuddin Siddiqui), on trial for obscenity. Dramatizing Manto’s struggles as he excoriates humanity during the most tumultuous time on the Indian Subcontinent, actress-filmmaker Nandita Das’ “Manto” is elegant and old school, epic without losing sight of the personal.
The film scores its highest points by so smoothly weaving extracts from Manto’s stories into the fabric of the narrative that it’s not easy to see the line between the author’s life and his fiction; placed at the centre of a scene, he simultaneously observes and engages with the imaginary characters. Credit goes not only to the bold cutting of Sreekar Prasad, but also to Siddiqui for his ability to move between multiple worlds of reality and imagination with subtly differentiated expressions.
Manto is well scripted, well directed, well shot film. Scenes of the film are nothing but a reflection of dedicated work, which would have been transformed on the screen. She tried to make it as realistic as possible by portraying Manto. She vividly depicts the dereliction of Lahore in 1948 in contrast to the swinging mood of 1946 Bombay, and delves into Manto’s darkening psyche. Recreations of his short stories also give a sense of the chaos and cruelty running rampant all around him, and the anger and pessimism he feels.
Being a debutant director she has properly portrayed each character, scene, and situation. Her way of storytelling is quite impressive. As she has perfectly added all spices to make tastier, neither had she missed any valid points nor did she add more exaggeration of any art work. If she would have added any it would have been spoilt play.
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Nawazuddin Siddiqui effectively reveals Manto’s alcoholism and emotional instability as a gradual deterioration, using quicksilver shifts of mood rather than flaming melodrama.
Manto is a highly watchable, immediately thought-provoking cinematic work. Don’t miss to watch it.
I love Manto’s art, so it’s worth to watch.
FilmiBhonga gives 4 stars out 5 stars .
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