Celebrities like Rishi Kapoor, Gurdas Maan and Javed Akhtar didn’t charge a penny for actor-filmmaker Nandita Das’ forthcoming film Manto. She says there is more to life than money. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays the late Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto in the film, offered to do it just for “Re 1 largely for Manto and little bit” for Nandita.
“This is the character that an actor would give an arm and leg for. But to not charge even a nominal fee is very gracious of Nawaz,” Nandita said in a statement to IANS. Apart from him, there are many eminent actors who agreed to do small parts purely to support the film.
“Rishi Kapoor and Gurdas Maan said yes in our first meeting. I also reached out to many whom I knew well and have used up all my goodwill to get a stellar cast that truly does justice to the characters in the film. While many have done cameo roles, they all bring their talent and credibility to the characters,” she said.
Actor Paresh Rawal had worked with her in Firaaq and now in Manto. “Politically, we may have differing views, but there is a mutual respect as an artiste and I am truly grateful he did the role to perfection,” she said.
Talking about veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar, she said, “I have known Javed Saab even before I did ‘Fire’. And I have always felt that he would be perfect in front of the camera. I thought it would be quite interesting to have a progressive writer of today defending ‘Manto’. You will see him in a new avatar. So not like Javed saab.”
“Trust me, there is more to life than money. The compensation comes in the form of experience and the joy of working on interesting projects. I, too, have done many such projects and have never looked for ‘monetary compensation’,” said Nandita.
Celebrities like Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta, Purab Kohli, Rajshri Deshpande and Swanand Kirkire also worked for free in the film.