Manto: Can Pakistan show its controversial writer on screen?

Last Modified Wednesday, 26 September 2018 (18:44 IST)
Islamabad: Once noted Late Saadat Hasan Manto's writings were not 'easy' to be published, now his movies too.Manto, a biography, directed by Nandita Das, his life half lived in British India and rest in Pakistan, is having difficulty of getting released here.
It's rumoured that the film would not be released in Pakistan, with people complaining that till a week ago, it was showing up on the 'coming soon section' of several cinema websites but was no longer there, Dawn reported on Wednesday.
 
Manto, a Pakistani writer, playwright and author born in Ludhiana, was known for his writings about the hard truths of society that no one dared to talk about. He has extensively written about Partition. However, he was trialed several times of obscenity in his writings. 
 
Since Manto's screening at Cannes last year, people across the subcontinent have been eagerly waiting to watch Manto. The film has received critical acclaim at numerous film festivals and at its premiere in India.
 
Talking to Dawn, chairman of the federal censor board Danyal Gilani said that so far no importer had approached the board for clearance."There are many importers of movies in Pakistan. Difficult to tell offhand what are their thoughts about a specific movie," he said.
 
Earlier, the film's director had tweeted that they were in the process of screening the film in Pakistan. "#[email protected] coverage from across the border, we're working towards releasing the film in Pakistan soon!" she wrote.
 
Discussing Manto's work, author and critic Aslam Farrukhi said that was controversial ? not because of what people categorised as pornographic content but because of its subversive nature.
 
"It is the politics - that aspect of Manto is very important. In Pakistan, he becomes Indian and across the border they say at the end of the day, he was a Pakistani," he said, adding that even today Manto was a very relevant and important short story writer.
 
Pakistan has honoured posthumously Distinguished Service to Pakistan Award in 2012.(UNI)