Connect with us

Mantostaan Review: Manto’s Stories Are So Powerful, They Can’t Go Wrong On Screen

Published

on

Starring: Raghuvir Yadav,Veerendra Saxena, Shoaib Nikash Shah, Sonali Sehgal

Directed by Rahat Kazmi

Advertisement

[wp-review id=”76784″]

The stories of Saadat Hassan Manto are not pretty evening-time entertainment to be ingested with a  glass of ‘read’ wine. They are gut-wrenching nauseating, stomach-churning renditions of a time when India was split into two.

Advertisement

So were human skulls and  while many fled to the new country nextdoor, a lot of legs were  forcibly parted by marauders masquerading as political vigilantes.Yes,rape is not pretty and when a young gangraped girl responds to the simple request ‘Khol de’ by reflexively loosening her  salwaar  we know the times that this film takes us back to must never be visited again.

This cinematic  visit to those troubled times serves up a telling warning.

Advertisement

Director Rahat Kazmi  must be commended for bringing  to life 4 of Manto’s most savage depictions  of the pains of Partition. Rather than narrate the four Manto stories—ThandaGosht, Khol Do, Aakhri Salute and Assignment—in one linear progression Kazmi meshes the stories together to create a Mantostaan, a universe of  Partition stories colliding and  clashing with one another in a jostle of  horrific images.

Manto’s stories are savage, brutal, unbearably unforgiving of history’s fatally erroneous twists and turns.In  one of the stories  a dying Indian soldier(Tariq Shah) asks his Pakistani counterpart(played by the director Rahat Kazmi), “Do you guys really want Kashmir? You are being misled by some elements.”

Advertisement

The propagandist pitch of the above exchange is quite in-sync with the mood of retrospective pacification that cinema indulges in ,in order to make the gruesome mistakes from the past palatable , if not forgivable. This is in direct contrast to Manto’s quote at the end of this slight but loaded film where he  is heard saying he won’t dress up the brutal truth, because dressing up is tailor’s job, not a litterateur’s prerogative.

The four stories Kazmi has selected   give the actors a chance to recreate the ghoulish incidents in rapturous melodrama.Still some actors get a firm grip over the grim goings-on.Raghuvir Yadav as a distraught father of  a missing daughter melts your heart . VeerendraSaxena as a Muslim patriarch  who refuses to move out of his locality when riots break out, models his character, personality and humanism on Balraj Sahni in Garam Hawa.And newcomer Shoib Nikash Shah as a  Sikh  haunted by his dirty act during rioting brings  much-required heft to the relentlessly  grave proceedings.

Advertisement

Not that any of the actors are competing to win Oscars. What carries unmistakable weight over above the execution and  performances  is the original source material. Saadat HassanManto’s stories do not mince words. He conveyed the brutality and inhumanity  of the times without apology.

Mantostaan  must be commended for opening up Manto’s stories. And never mind if the new space provided for the stories to unfold are never quite filled with the riveting  fury of M S Sathyu’s Garam Hawa or Govind Nihalani’s Tamas.

Advertisement

At least someone has dared to look back during these times of modernday mythology at an angry irrational time when civilization  lost its humanism. For reminding us how much history’s lessons need to be learnt by successive generations of unattentive thrill-seekers,Mantostaan deserves a place in your heart.

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Exclusive Premium Content

Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

Published

on

Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

Advertisement

Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

Advertisement

The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

Published

on

Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

Advertisement

 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

Advertisement

But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

Advertisement

Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

Published

on

Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

Advertisement

Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

Advertisement

This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

Published

on

Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

Advertisement

Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Popular