Actor-turned-filmmaker Nandita Das, who’s gearing up to promote her upcoming film, Manto, says that she knew right from the start that she wanted Nawazuddin Siddiqui to play the lead role. “We have seen Nawazuddin play many different roles, but whoever has watched the trailer of this film says he looks exactly like Manto,” Nandita says.
“I started writing the script in 2013, and I knew I wanted Nawaz for the role. The script was written with him in mind,” she adds. The filmmaker reveals that she received help from Manto’s family while developing the script. “No matter how much you read about Manto, there’s more to be learnt by meeting his family. So I went to Lahore and met Manto’s wife Safiyah’s sister. She’s in her late-70’s now and she was able to give me a lot of inputs,” she says.
Manto follows the most tumultuous years in the life of celebrated writer Saadat Hasan Manto along with the incidents chronicled by him. Apart from Siddiqui, the film also stars Rasika Dugal, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rishi Kapoor and Divya Dutta in key roles.