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Manto, directed by Nandita Das and featuring the brilliant Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the central role, opened to public in India this morning and the first reviews, which are rolling in, are brilliant. The film, which chronicles the troubled writer’s life in the 40’s, deals with his inner turmoil and unrest as a result of censorship, political intolerance, poverty, partition and society’s incapability to deal with the truth. Critics believe that Manto’s story is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago.


Republic has called the Nawazuddin starrer as “intense and gripping”.



India Today calls Nandita Das’s film “a brilliant portrait of a self destructive creator”.



Times of India gives Manto a 3/5 rating for exploring the events leading up to his doom rather than reflecting more deeply on his psyche. “Watch it for the director’s flawless interweaving of Manto’s poignant writing into her script and watch it for the words — spoken and unspoken,”  writes.



The reviews are, as expected, great. But there’s good news and bad news for the film. Bad news is that apparently, screening is being blocked in parts of India.



Cancellation of shows, assumed to be political, has effected the box office collections of the film. Trade Analyst Sumit Kendal reports extremely low occupancy.



Good news is that Manto is in the running, along with Padmaavat, Gold and Raazi, to be India’s official Oscar submission. The Film Federation of India will announce the finalist tomorrow.

We wonder whether Nandita Das’s Manto will release in Pakistan. We saw Sarmad Khoosat’s Manto biopic a couple of years ago and would love to watch and observe the differences in filmmaking.