That Nawazuddin Siddiqui is playing the titular role in the biopic of writer Saadat Hasan Manto is not a breaking news. Neither is the fact that Nawazuddin has gone through a lot of trouble to get into the skin of the character. Owing to Nawazuddin’s dedication for the film, Manto has already created quite a buzz in media. And it won’t be an exaggeration to state that the film couldn’t have been done better by anyone by Nawazuddin.
If you are wondering what has led us to think so, it is a short film called In Defence of Freedom, that was released in India Today Conclave. Directed by Nandita Das, who has also helmed Manto, the video offers a sneak peek into the life of the legendary writer. In the video, Nawazuddin as Manto can be seen addressing a class of students where he bats for freedom of speech. In his lesson, Manto talks about how his works have been criticised by the many sections of the society.
Manto then argued why his writings should not raise eyebrows as he is only penning the truth. He stressed on showing the society a mirror through his works and everyone should try to do the same. He also revealed the hypocrisy of the society to his class.
This short film should be lauded for the way it has captured the essence of the current society. Almost every day we come across news pieces about a certain kind of censorship on freedom of speech. This right of free speech, few argue, is not allowed to be exercised fully. Hence this short film will strike a chord with everyone who feels their freedom of speech is more on paper than practice.
For more interesting content on InUth, click here
Saadat Hasan Manto passed away in 1955 but his writings are proof of his farsightedness. The issues related to free speech that Manto experienced back them are relatable to some level even today.