Pakistani director-actor Sarmad Sultan Khoosat and his ‘Manto’ co-star Nimra Bucha believe the movie on Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s troubled life is very much relevant in today’s world when free speech is “not easy” in both India and Pakistan.
“The fact that he (Saadat Hasan Manto) had a troubled life. He was not getting paid and his work was banned. All that resonate so much in the way we live today. The way we cast aside artistes and their work. Free speech is not easy in either of our countries,” Nimra Bucha said at a press conference ahead of the film’s screening at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival.
‘Manto’ made in 2015 is based on the life of Pakistani writer, playwright and author Sadat Hassan Manto, who was considered as one of the greatest writers of short stories in South Asia.
A hit in Pakistan, ‘Manto’ has been screened in various US varsities. Incidentally, this is for the first time that Khoosat and Bucha have visited any Indian city with ‘Manto’.
Describing the film as the “legacy of the subcontinent”, Khoosat who enacted Manto’s character in the film, said that the author stands for “freedom of speech”.
Both Khoosat and Bucha had skipped the screening of their movie in Mumbai after having a visa to travel to Mumbai, the reason for which, they said, was “fear”.
He was initially scared to come to India after going through media reports of “intolerance” in the country. “But I have been smiling ever since my arrival in the city (Kolkata). Now, I am not scared to be here,” he said.