The trailer of Nandita Das’s Saadat Hasan Manto biopic will be released on Wednesday, to coincide with India’s Independence Day. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manto chronicles the life of the revered Urdu writer and iconoclast.
The makers of Manto announced the trailer release date on Tuesday in a series of videos accompanied by Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s line “bol ke lab azaad hai” (speak, as your lips are free). The free speech-themed videos showed various celebrities, including rapper Vivaan Fernandes, radio jockey Malishka, actor Saloni Chopra, with their lips sealed.
In an interview to IANS, Das said, “Manto stood for freedom of expression, both through his writings and the struggles he went through in his life. He challenged all forms of orthodoxy and despite six cases slapped on him, he believed in the power of the written word. That kind of conviction and the courage to follow it through is inspirational.”
The film traces Manto’s years as a writer in Bombay, his move to Pakistan and the impact of India’s Partition on his life and work. The cast includes Rasika Dugal as Manto’s wife, Safia, alongside Rishi Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Paresh Rawal.
Manto was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Co-produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc, and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the film is set to be released in India later this year.