Nawazuddin is one of the most versatile actors Bollywood has right now. Put him in any role, be it comic, serious or dark, he plays everything with sheer brilliance. On the 72nd Independence Day, the trailer for his much-anticipated film ‘Manto’ was released and once again, he proves his acting prowess with a simple yet perfect performance.
Directed by Nandita Das, the movie throws light on the life of Saadat Hasan Manto, a controversial poet in the pre-independent India who was famous for his unapologetic writing and was often charged with obscenity.
A little less than two and a half minutes, the trailer starts with Manto the courtroom, arguing why he shouldn’t write the truth the way it is. What follows is the story of a rebel writer who struggles against the censorship, especially after his work ‘Thanda Gosht’ (Cold meat). Manto was tried six times in court for fearlessly speaking his mind which wasn’t liked by many. The trailer shows him challenging all forms of orthodoxy in a country that had just gained freedom from the British but still struggling for a society with an open mindset. “Jab gulaam the, toh azaadi ka khwab dekhte the, Aur ab azaad hai, toh kaunsa khwab dekhenge” (When we were enslaved, we would dream of independence, now that we are free, what will we dream of?), asks Manto, which is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago.
As expected, Nawaz shines in his subtle performance and brilliantly brings Manto to life on the screen. Right from the beginning, he sets the tone and keeps us hooked till the end as he refuses to give up his right to freedom of speech.
The movie also stars Rasika Duggal, Rishi Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Ila Arun, and Rajshri Deshpande in important roles along with Javed Akhtar making his screen debut. Manto has had a tremendous response at Cannes film festival 2018 and is expected perform well when it releases in India on 21st September.