Nandita Das has been seen as one the best actresses in India. And she has done equally well in her directorial ventures. Her directorial debut ‘Firaaq’ did extremely well and won many national and international accolades. Now, another film directed by the actress-filmmaker is about to hit the screens in India. Directed by Nandita Das, ‘Manto’ is a biographical film based on the life of famous Indo-Pakistani Urdu writer and author Saadat Hasan Manto.
Apart from the fact that it is directed by supremely talented Nandita Das, the film has an impressive star-cast that will definitely make people want to watch it.
The lead role of Saadat Hasan Manto is played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film has many other noteworthy names playing important roles such as Rishi Kapoor, Gurdas Mann and Javed Akhtar.
Interestingly, the fee these actors have charged for doing ‘Manto’ is utterly surprising. As per a report by Times Now, Rishi Kapoor, Javed Akhtar and Gurdaas Mann have not charged even a single penny for doing ‘Manto’.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui has charged a fee of Rs 1, “largely for Manto and a little bit for Nandita”. In an interview to IANS, Nandita Das said:
“This is the character that an actor would give an arm and leg for. But to not charge even a nominal fee is very gracious of Nawaz.”
Many actors such as Paresh Rawal, Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta, Purab Kohli, Rajshri Deshpande and Swanand Kirkire are a part of the film and have charged very nominally or no fees. What is more surprising is the fact that Nandita Das apparently did not have to put in a lot of effort to convince these actors including Nawazuddin Siddiqui to charge such nominal amount for the film or do it for free.
In her interview, Nandita Das said:
“Rishi Kapoor and Gurdas Maan said yes in our first meeting. I also reached out to many whom I knew well and have used up all my goodwill to get a stellar cast that truly does justice to the characters in the film. While many have done cameo roles, they all bring their talent and credibility to the characters. Politically, we may have differing views, but there is a mutual respect as an artiste and I am truly grateful he did the role to perfection.”
Talking about veteran writer Javed Akhtar, the actress turned director said:
“I have known Javed Saab even before I did ‘Fire’. And I have always felt that he would be perfect in front of the camera. I thought it would be quite interesting to have a progressive writer of today defending ‘Manto’. You will see him in a new avatar. So not like Javed saab.”
Expressing her sentiment about the actors agreeing to work in films for free, she said:
Trust me, there is more to life than money! The compensation comes in the form of experience and the joy of working on interesting projects. I, too, have done many such projects and have never looked for ‘monetary compensation’.