Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in and as Manto, this biopic has been highly awaited ever since Nandita Das announced her intentions of making a biopic on the legendary writer. As the release of the film is just around the corner, the makers have released the first song titled “Nagri Nagri”.
“Nagri Nagri” is a track with an old-world charm keeping up with the song and film’s times. Based on the ghazal written by 20th century’s progressive Urdu poet Meeraji, the song is scored by Sneha Khanwalkar’s capable hands. Shankar Mahadevan provides the vocals, in an almost unrecognisable voice.
The song is beautifully composed and matches the times beyond just words. The percussion instruments and violin, at least until the halfway mark, harken back to the era of KL Sehgal and Mukesh and their sedate way of singing accompanied by somnolent tunes. The timeless lyrics go, “Nagri nagri phira musafir ghar ka rasta bhool gaya. Kya hai tera kya hai mera apna paraya bhool gaya.”
Watch Manto’s song Nagri Nagri here:
“Nagri Nagri” begins with the happier days. Manto (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is seen intermingling with the literary and intellectual circles of Mumbai (then Bombay) and Siddiqui seems to be doing a sublime job in painting a writer with defiance in his work but charm and humour and unassumingness in his personality. And then he has to go to Pakistan, and the song’s visuals reflect this, with serious visages and muted colours.
Directed by Nandita Das, Manto is based on the firebrand and contrarian writer Saadat Hasan Manto whose bold point of view of writing about the truth of society made him a legend. The song, in a way, also helps elucidate the story of the film.
The film also stars Rasika Duggal and Tahir Raj Bhasin. Manto releases on September 21.