Thursday 3 September 2015

Breakthrough: Manto’s biopic to release across Pakistan uncensored

21:30 By Lollywood Online No comments

The irony remains strong – ‘Saadat Hasan Manto’, ‘censor’ and ‘approved’ are words not many people would expect to read in a flowing sentence. It seems like the controversial writer will have his posthumous moment of pride after three different censor boards within the country give the stamp of approval to the film centring his life – that too, without any cuts.
Deeming this a “major victory” for both the himself and the production team behind the movie titled Manto, writer Shahid Nadeem says, “This is a significant boost for the movie heading to the theatres.”
“The late author must be really proud today,” exclaims the film’s writer, “for he spent his entire life protecting his works against censorship.”
Given the fact that not many would have expected this film to be approved by the censor boards without any major alterations, Nadeem reasons that the movie is similar to any other biopic portraying the life and times of a high-profile personality. Savouring the controversial questions being thrown at the film-makers, Nadeem proudly says, “We have showed Manto’s life as it was. We have not compromised on anything.”

During the course of the movie, the master storyteller’s personal life has also been explored; his relationship with his wife, daughter and peers is all shown in the film. Basically the movie explores his life through the context of his work.
“What the public does not understand is that not all of his writings were controversial. Only a few of his stories entail sex and prostitution whereas a lot of his other work touches upon the class divide and social injustices prevalent in society,” adds Nadeem.
Praising the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Nadeem believes that the board has shown great flexibility in reviewing the content of the film. “The panel adopted a calculated liberal approach,” CBFC Chairman Mobashir Hasan says.
Hasan maintains the movie did not contain anything that could be termed objectionable. “It was the wordsmith’s work that was considered controversial and not his personal life.” He explains that the biopic focuses more on the latter, namely Manto’s alcohol addiction and how he was sent to a mental asylum.
“The movie is in the confines of our social values and is appropriate. It is like other art films and biopics that are made with nothing controversial”, shares Hasan. The censor board’s approval comes across as a welcoming relief for the film’s producers, especially after the CBFC initially disapproved the making of Swaarangi in Pakistan, claiming the film represented an “inappropriate” image of the country. The movie was based on the plight of drug addicts within the country.
The Sarmad Sultan Khoosat film Manto is now set for a September 11 release and features an ensemble cast starring Mahira Khan, Humayun Saeed, Faisal Qureshi, Sania Saeed, Savera Nadeem, Sania Saeed and Saba Qamar.


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