“Manto” is based on the four most significant and tumultuous years (1946-1950) in the life of Saadat Hasan Manto. It is set during the Independence of India from the British, leading to the Partition of the country. As sectarian violence engulfs India, Manto is compelled to make the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay for the newly born Pakistan. In Lahore, he finds himself bereft of friends, unable to get his writings published and burdened by trials for alleged obscene writing. His increasing alcoholism and anguish take a toll on his family and lead him on a downward spiral. Through all of this, he continues to write prolifically, his works mirroring the harsh realities of the time. Facts and fiction overlap, blurring the lines between his works and the film’s main narrative. “Manto” is a story of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man trying to make sense of it all.
Nandita Das (World Fellow 2014) has acted in more than 40 feature films in 10 different languages. She made her directorial debut with “Firaaq” in 2008 that won much appreciation around the world. “Manto” is her second film as director. Nandita also acted, wrote and directed the play, “Between the Lines” in 2012 that dealt with the subtle gender inequalities that exist amongst the affluent, educated class in India. She has also been on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival twice (2005 and 2013). She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is a strong advocate for issues of social justice and human rights. She was the Chairperson of Children’s Film Society from 2009–2012. Nandita has been conferred the “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters” by the French Government. She was the first Indian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the International Women’s Forum.
This event will feature a screening of “Manto” followed by a Q&A with Nandita Das. This event is co-sponsored by the South Asian Studies Council at Yale’s MacMillan Center.