Screening of ‘Manto’ at PNCA on Saturday

October 29, 2020

Islamabad : Saadat Hassan ‘Manto’ was not just a daring author but a ruthless and courageous writer who brought out our virtues and vices into the open. He passed away in 1955 but lives...

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Islamabad : Saadat Hassan ‘Manto’ was not just a daring author but a ruthless and courageous writer who brought out our virtues and vices into the open. He passed away in 1955 but lives through what he left behind.

Foundation Art Divvy and Pakistan National Council of the Arts celebrate his life and times with the screening of Sarmad Khoosat feature film ‘Manto’ in PNCA Open-air theater on Saturday (October 31). Two other short films ‘Stray Dogs come out at Night’ by Hamza Bangish and ‘Baadi’ by Marya Javed would be unspooled before ‘Manto’.

‘Manto’ is directed by Sarmad Khoosat, scripted by Shahid Nadeem and produced by Babar Javed. The cast includes Sarmad Khoosat, Sania Saeed and Saba Qamar.

‘Manto’ is a biopic revolving around the author, his tormented wife Safiya, family and an outsider, actress-singer Noorjehan. They have migrated from Mumbai to Lahore. The director has remarkably narrated the life of an icon, beginning with his brutal and ruthless torture before sending him to asylum. Apart from writing, ‘Manto’ is badly addicted to cheap liquor and tons of tobacco (the bottle of cheap booze remains on his writing table). His devoted wife takes care of the household and kids with almost no financial support. He has applied for allotment for a printing press but his friend ends up giving him one-third share in an ice factory for which his first share is five rupees which he devotedly hands over to Safiya.

As we move ahead, ‘Manto’ is labelled as communist, accused of decorating his walls with images of Baghat Singh. Sending ‘Manto’ to asylums and prisons is the mission of the system. And when he is taken in, he is not even permitted to lock his room.

The director faithfully brings to life, the events, and circumstances ‘Manto’ is struck in. We also get to see the life of people around him. A helpless young widow who applies for a tonga licence, is asked to step into the oldest profession in the world. An American team of two members visits ‘Manto’ with a request to write for American publication but ‘Manto’ offends them by insisting that he would write only on his own terms and subject without interference. All this ends with ‘Manto’ gradually losing his focus and sense, spitting blood through vomiting and tragically passing away in 1955.

‘Manto’ is an exceptionally powerful film with top rated script, direction and performance by the three leading players. It excels in all technical fields with authentic production effects from Lahore of early fifties (both interiors and exteriors), sound and cinematography. Here you have an opportunity to watch it on the PNCA open-air theater large screen. Don't miss it.

— aijazzgulgmail.com



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