The James Dean of India’s literary circles, Saadat Hasan Manto had a short life to live, but in his 43 years of tumultuous life, he put out a body of work that challenged many genres. And now, after his contributions to the world literature, Manto will in a sense come back to life, with two biopics set to focus on his life. One is by Indian actor and director Nandita Das and is still being written.

The other is a Pakistani production simply titled “Manto” and is scheduled to be released on September 11. The first look of the film was revealed this week, with the marketing team using music videos/ghazals to promote the film, not trailers. Each music video is story-specific to the writer’s life and other characters in the film.

Like this one gives shape to Mahira Khan's in-character portrait of a monkey master.


Written by director-playwright Shahid Nadeem, the film dives deep into the writer’s life and goes on to flesh out some of his short stories, including the likes of Thanda Gosht, License and Hatak. Earlier, Nadeem’s Ajoka theatre group had staged several productions based on Manto’s writings, some of which were considered so scandalous as to invite official censure. These include Akhri Salute, Titwal ka Kutta, Naya Qanoon,Sahib-i-Karamat, and Toba Tek Singh.

The movie on Manto’s final years was actually destined to be a television series but Geo Television, one of Pakistan’s leading television networks and film producers later decided to extract some of the 20-part series for thr silver screen. Watch how Manto’s life stories opens knot by knot through Mirza Ghalib’s ghazal “Aah ko Chahiye” sung by Ali Sethi in the featured video.

There is a faint possibility that the film might release in India, given the fact that Geo Television has previously released its movies Khuda Kay Liye and Bol here.