“Manto was a creative genius and a family man at the same time” says Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Godrej India Culture Lab and Viacom18 Motion Pictures hosted a special conversation based upon Manto, a film by Nandita Das as a precursor to the national release. It included presence of the film’s cast members Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rasika Dugal, literary historian Rakhshanda Jalil, as well as Nazia Erum, author of ‘Mothering a Muslim’.
Based on the idea of freedom of expression, the film revolves around Saadat Hasan Manto, the skilled satirist and chronicler of the chaos of Partition who was put on trial six times for his provocative writings. The prolific writer was thus invariably a champion of free speech. He once famously said, “If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty.”
More than 400 people attended the event. The conversation not only focused on relevance of Manto and his writing in today’s contemporary India but also touch based upon topics like freedom of speech, and expression, progressive writers movement, attack on journalists or censorship of content in films and television.
About the film Manto:
The film follows the most tumultuous four years in the life of Manto and that of the two countries he inhabits – India and Pakistan. As sectarian violence engulfs the region, Manto makes the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay. In Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends and unable to find takers for his writings. His increasing alcoholism leads him into a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, without dilution. This is the tale of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man who tries to make sense of it all.
About Godrej India Culture Lab:
The Godrej India Culture Lab is a fluid experimental space that cross-pollinates ideas and people to explore what it means to be modern and Indian. India Culture Lab is based in Vikhroli, Mumbai, at the Godrej headquarters. The Lab was launched in January 2011 as an attempt to create an alternative intellectual hub in Mumbai city that would serve as a catalyst for conversations about contemporary India, by brokering interactions between academia, the creative industries, the corporate world and the not-for-profit sector. Founded by Parmesh Shahani, the Lab curates and organize events of different sizes