“Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto and with him lie buried all the secrets and mysteries of the art of short-story writing.... Under tons of earth he lies, still wondering who among the two is greater short story writer: God or He.”
Manto wanted the above epitaph on his grave but it is interesting that in Lahore, Pakistan, where Manto’s grave is, hardly anyone is aware of it. It is Buta Pahalwan’s grave that is well known and Manto rests just beside him.
Shashi Sharma of the theatre group, Rangrez Sarokar, said, “We tried to bring in this concept in our play. Originally written by Rafi Shabbir, the play has been adapted by Ayatullah Khan, the director of the play and actor Devroop Sharma.
The play, Badnaam Manto, is on the great playwright’s life and packs a lot of untold surprises for the audience to keep them pondering on his current existence. Though considering the fact that Manto is dead... he has not ceased living. One can still find traits of his existence in his writings and his followers.
Based on the most primitive and inevitable relations of mankind’s histories, his stories (to non-prejudice eyes) have proved to be valid in all directions of time.
The stage production was impressive and so were the lighting. The play had only two characters, Devroop Sharma as Saadat Hasan Manto and Rajdeep Kumar, who essays the role of Buta Pahalwan.
Says Sharma, “Manto has always influenced me and I learnt Urdu to understand him and his works better.”
It was the second time that Rangrez Sarokar, a theatre group from Mumbai, performed in Hyderabad. Shashi Sharma says, “It has always been a pleasure performing in Hyderabad because of the informed audience one gets here.”