Nandita Das directorial Manto opened at Rs 50 lakh, according to Bollywood Hungama. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role, Manto is based on the life of Indo-Pakistani iconoclast writer Saadat Hasan Manto. This is Das’ second feature film directorial after 2008’s Firaaq. Manto, also starring Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rasika Dugal and Rajshri Deshpande, premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
Manto released alongside Batti Gul Meter Chalu, which has notable stars in its cast like Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam. Manto will have to generate considerable post-release buzz to stay in the race, since Batti Gul Meter Chalu has opened well. While Nawazuddin has become a respected name in the Hindi cinema, his capacity to lure moviegoers to the theatres remains limited.
The Indian Express film critic Shubra Gupta gave a mixed review to the film. She concluded it by saying, “There is a gap, a curious distance, between the vision and the execution, and much of the film, including Nawaz, resides in it. There is no other actor who could have done this role; he looks the part—crumpled kurta, thick-framed glasses, stained teeth, and sounds just right too. The wry humour, the bitterness and frustration, qualities which permeate the author’s work, are only visible in flashes, though. The outline is there, but the filling is patchy. You keep wanting more. Both from him. And the film.”