MANTO the movie can be termed as the Best Pakistani Biographical Drama Film. The legendary short story writer from Pakistan will find his much awaited recognition in the Pakistani Community after a wait of seven decades.
Manto Movie Review by Muaz Raja (Lahore)
People on the stairs, standing ovation and a round of applause that lasted for over 3 minutes tell you about the impact it had on the audience. Post partition 7 years of Manto’s life depicted on the big screen show the emphatic struggle of survival which the writer had to fight through.
MANTO, perhaps will be the best release of the YEAR 2015 & slightly edges past MOOR by JAMI. Leading the way Sarmad Sultan Khoosat has done justice to his role and has played the character so well that after few minutes into the movie it gets hard to disengage from the plot.
From a directorial perspective Khoosat has made every dime count. Very often in Pakistan the screenplay of the movies falls short of good dialogues But MANTO whose screenplay has been adapted from Manto’s short stories such as Thanda Gosht, License, Madari, Hatak, Peshawar se Lahore gives the story line a powerful feel.
Depicted as Taboo Writer in Pakistan, Manto’s life has been portrayed in a manner where you can feel the true colors of his life descent into a dark pit hole of fate. Shahid Nadeem should be appreciated for his amazing dialogues which give you goose bumps all throughout the movie. The Monologue in the end sums up the entire movie and leaves the audiences thinking of what have we done to the people who were God gifted and true ambassadors of our art & culture.
Manto The Movie has drama, shades of love, empathy and tragedy wrapped in a harsh dark cover of reality from the past. The 20th century necrophilia plot revolves around Manto’s most controversial stories for which he had to face charges of obscenity. But labeling MANTO and his progressive writing as obscene and taboo was out of hatred and jealousy as we lost one of the best writers and story tellers of his time.
His relationship with Madam Noor Jahan, The historic PAK TEA HOUSE of Lahore where MANTO sahib would enchant his stories luring you down a dark alley and hitting you hard have been captured really well on the big screen. The songs of the movie which were recorded in complete darkness give you that feeling of cruelty and guilt. The venom which was injected into the body of MANTO by the society can be felt throughout the scores. Two of the scores which are worth a mention are Mehram Dilaan Dey Mahi by Meesha Shafi sung in dark and sensual way is a remake of the original by Surinder Kaur & Aah ko Chahiye an original by Mirza ghalib sung by Ali Sethi are truly outstanding.
The multi star cast of Sania Saeed as Safiya (Begum Manto), Saba Qamar as Noor Jehan, Mahira Khan as Madaran, Shamoon Abbasi, Faisal Qureshi, Hina Khawaja Bayat, Azfar Rehman, Savera Nadeem & Nadia Afghan add their own flavor to the movie.
The Masses might not find the Masala ingredients and Item numbers needed to make it a block buster but its Movies like MANTO that restores your faith in Pakistani Cinema and how if we produce to our strengths we can easily beat Bollywood hands down.
In the end, In our honest of opinion MANTO is a MUST WATCH and we rate it as a 8.5/10 !