Manto is not a typical biopic : Nandita Das, Actress
Updated on: 31 May 2016
Nandita Das wears many hats. However, by her own admission, one of the roles that she likes best is that of a storyteller. Nandita first turned director with the hard-hitting Firaaq, which was based on the Gujarat Riots. And although she has stayed away from direction for eight years now, Nandita returns with a biopic on the legendary Urdu litterateur Sadat Hasan Manto. In a conversation with us, Nandita reveals why she thinks Manto's story needs to be told.
Why did you choose Nawaz to play Manto? Firaaq was the first feature length film where Nawaz was seen in a substantial role. Since then I have admired his range and authenticity as an actor. Manto is a challenging role and the capacity required to portray a layered character like Manto is found in very few actors. It's a character with a vast range of emotions and contradictions. I'm glad that I found Nawaz.
What took you so long to return to direction? After Firaaq there are many things I have been busy with. In addition to being a full-time mother to my son Vihaan, I was the chairperson of the Children's Film Society for three years. Apart from that, I've been writing a monthly column and doing a lot of social advocacy as well. I've also acted in a few films — a Spanish film called Traces of Sandalwood and a conceptual remake of Saeed Akhtar Mirza's Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai. I also spent a whole semester at Yale as a World Fellow. Add to that the research for making Manto. Not sure where eight years went!