After a film ends, from the seat of the cinema to the seat of the car, people ask each other the same question, kaisi lagi? They go on to discuss the film, the good and the bad scenes. After watching MANTO, I asked my brother the very same question and he replied with, ‘Aisi film Bollywood aglay das saal main nahi bana sakta‘. He said this because every time a film releases, specially comedy or masala film, our nation goes on to compare it with Bollywood. Like they compared Na Maloom Afraad with Delhi Belly, Jawani Phir Nahi Aani with HouseFull and so on. If they don’t compare movies then the least they do is they say, ye tou Bollywood style ki hai, thanks to Hamza Ali Abbasi for this.
A film like MANTO was needed to be done because for decades Saadat Hassan Manto was not known as a great writer but he was known as a indecent or ribaldry writer of Pakistan. Parents and teachers wouldn’t talk about Saadat Hassan, all they would tell was ‘his books were banned‘. Therefore, a film like Manto had to be done, his life was to be shared, his writing were to be told, his hardships in life were to be told.
When was the last time Bollywood took literature to the screen and won hearts? In 2002 with Devdas? In 2006 with Omkara or in 2009 with 3 Idiots? But none of these films did what Manto did. People have started buying his stories again. Oxford press has started publishing Manto’s writing again. And above all MANTO has succeeded in portraying a positive picture of Saadat Hassan, something nobody could pull off this well. Also, there is much to Manto that is still left untold, MANTO – the film has only last three years of Saadat Hassan’s life.
After so long I have seen the cinema applauding and clapping during the end credits. This is a sign how much people loved the film and how much did they enjoy it. There is more that MANTO did which other films couldn’t, MANTO brought out people from all age groups to the cinema. There were kids, youngsters and then there were old citizens who could barely walk but were climbing the cinema stairs to watch the film.
So what did a film like MANTO do? A film like Manto portrayed the positive image of Saadat Hassan, a film like Manto portrayed his stories visually, a film like Manto conveyed Saadat Hassan’s message loud and clear, a film like Manto not only portrayed hardships in his life but also of the people around him like Safia Manto and Noor Jahan. A soulful music album, a talented cast, phenomenal direction and a great story outline….MANTO was a comlete package. Something worth double your money.