Director Nandita Das presents her sweeping biopic Manto, a moving look at the work and life of India’s beloved and controversial writer Saadat Hasan Manto. This screening will include a conversation with Nandita Das and a Maverick Spirit Award Presentation.
At the dawn of India’s independence, an air of optimism sweeps the country. Yet the euphoria flees when the country faces turmoil, violence, and fear of their quickly changing world.
A horrified Manto bears witness to the upheaval in his homeland and channels his emotions into writing a transformation of that inner turmoil. Unbelievably, he finds himself on trial for obscenity — a trial wherein the very definition of art and artistic responsibility is challenged.
The narrative seamlessly intersperses five of Manto’s poignant stories, the last one being his most famous story — “Toba Tek Singh”, which begins: “Two or three years after Partition, it occurred to the governments of India and Pakistan to exchange their lunatics like they had exchanged their criminals….”
Starring the captivating Nawazuddin Siddiqui (The Lunchbox) as Manto and written and directed by Nandita Das, Manto immerses us into the life and times of one of the world’s most important and uncompromising writers.
An Opening Night Party follows at The Glass House (2 S. Market St.)
Cinequest runs from March 5-17 at various venues.
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