'Manto' relevant when free speech not easy in India, Pakistan'

On a high with the rave reviews that "Manto" is receiving, filmmaker Sarmad Sultan Khoosat and actress Nimra Bucha believe the cinematic portrayal of the Pakistani writer's troubled life is relevant today as free speech is "not easy" in both India and Pakistan."Manto" is a 2015 drama film based on the life of Pakistani short-story writer Sadat Hassan Manto."The fact that he had a troubled life, was not getting paid, and his work was banned... all that resonate so much in the way we live today. The way we cast aside artistes and their work... Free speech is not easy in either of our countries," Bucha told media persons at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival on Sunday ahead of the film's screening. "Manto" is a hit in Pakistan and has been screened in various US varsities. Dubbing Manto as the "legacy of the subcontinent", director Khoosat who himself enacted the character of Manto, said the author stands for "freedom of speech".

Khoosat also said that he was initially scared to come to India as media reports painted a picture of intolerance in India. "But I have been smiling ever since my arrival in the city. Now, I am not scared to be here," he said. But Bucha did acknowledge that in general "these are frustrating times for artists who want to speak the truth".Describing the film as the “legacy of the subcontinent”, Khoosat who enacted Manto’s character in the film, said that the author stands for “freedom of speech”. Both Khoosat and Bucha had skipped the screening of their movie in Mumbai after having a visa to travel to Mumbai, the reason for which, they said, was “fear”."Manto" is produced by Babar Javed and written by Shahid Nadeem, whose screenplay was adapted from Manto's short stories, particularly "Thanda Gosht", "Madari" and others. 



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