The video of Nagri Nagri, the first song from Nandita Das’s Manto, which was released today on YouTube offers a two-minute summary of the film’s themes. Firebrand writer Saadat Hasan Manto (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) emerges as a respected intellectual in pre-Independence India before tumbling down a world of alcoholism and isolation after the partition.

Shankar Mahadevan has sung the Sneha Khanwalkar composition based on the ghazal by Urdu poet Meeraji. In the beginning of the montage, Manto is seen exploring the worlds of literati and cinema while enjoying family life.

Nagri Nagri, Manto.

The colours get darker and the faces grave as the song progresses. The opening lines return to haunt: “Nagri nagri phira musafir ghar ka rasta bhul gaya / Kya hai tera kya hai mera apna paraya bhul gaya” (The traveller forgot his road back home after roaming in cities / He forgot who is his own and who isn’t).

Manto’s supporting cast includes Rasika Dugal as the writer’s wife Safia and Tahir Raj Bhasin as the actor Shyam, who was a close friend of the writer. Manto competed in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The film is set for a September 21 release.