Ever since director Sarmad Khoosat stole the show with his depiction of the controversial Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto in the 2015 biopic, the benchmark for the Nandita Das’ Indian version has been set high. Perhaps the single biggest query about this film project has been about the titular role.

After weeks of speculation, the name has been revealed and it’s none other than Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is currently being lauded at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance as the demented serial killer in Raman Raghav 2.0.

Co-producer Das shared the news on the sidelines of Raman Raghav’s premiere at Cannes. “I have Nawazuddin in mind from the very outset. But in India, economics always interferes with art and there was pressure on me to cast a more mainstream star,” she said. “But I absolutely need the kind of nuances and depth that only Nawazuddin can deliver.”

Nawazuddin has time and again proved his versatility as an actor and Das couldn’t have made a better choice. The shooting for the film will begin by the end of this year and will take place in both Mumbai and Lahore. Unlike Khoosat’s film that focused primarily on the post-partition era in the life of the profound writer, Das’ version will cover the period between 1946 and 1952. “It’s not a cradle-to-grave biopic but a drama celebrating the life and work of a writer who was a natural rebel, a man who went against the tide without being a conscious activist. The film will cover a period of seven years between 1946 and 1952, which was an important phase in the history of the subcontinent,” added Das.

Courtesy: Instep (The News International)

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