Watch: Nawazuddin Siddiqui aces Manto's look and quirks in Nandita Das' short film
Eight years after her award-winning film Firaaq, Nandita Das returns to direction with her next, Manto, the biopic of author and playwright Saadat Hasan Manto who was renowned for his unfiltered and uncensored writing during the post-Independence period.
Das has roped in Nawazuddin Siddiqui to play the titular role. The Indian Express reports that Siddiqui refused to resort to prosthetic and opted for a natural look in order to get into the shoes of Manto. Since no video or audio footage of the author was available for research, Siddiqui decoded Manto's speaking style by studying the rhythm in his writing.
A picture posted earlier by Siddiqui showed that he resembles Manto to a T, and a recently released short film proves that he has picked up all the quirks of the celebrated playwright. Before he depicts 10 years in the life of Manto, from age 25 to 35 in the film, Siddiqui acted in a short film by Das, as a prelude to the feature film.
The short film was released at the India Today Conclave 2017 by Das. Titled In Defence of Freedom, the short film depicts a classroom session in which Manto is stressing on why he endorses and practices freedom of expression without any restraint.
Das echoed the message of the film in her own words. The Indian Express quotes her as saying, "“In any democratic or progressive society, freedom of speech, although ambiguous to define, should be cherished. Freedom of expression is needed for any society to be progressive else we will go back in time if there are no diverse views or analysis if a child cannot ask questions."
While Siddiqui aces the short film with his solid dialogue delivery, Das lends a helping hand with her tight direction and lucid dialogues. The short film leaves you to contemplate as Manto, wearing a spotless white kurta, walks away in a brightly lit corridor with a soulful ghazal composed by Sneha Khanwalkar playing in the background.
Watch the clip here: