Pakistani filmmaker Sarmad Sultan Khoosat’s Manto was screened at a Mumbai film festival in October but the filmmaker had to cancel his Mumbai visit . The director-actor, who is now in India to attend the screening of his film at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival, has claimed that the state of affairs in a ‘secular state like India’ saddens him.
At a time when a lot is being debated on intolerance in India, Khoosat said people should be more tolerant. “India is a secular country and the present state of affairs really saddens me. It is a time when people are making issues out of the very basic and fundamental things which shouldn’t be the case. It’s a situation when the rational has taken a backseat and the irrational is being given more importance. I am sure Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan would love to know the fan following they have in Pakistan or the number of brands Katrina Kaif endorses there without she even knowing about them,” said Sarmad who has written and directed Manto and also essayed the writer’s role in the film.
“It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t make it to Mumbai but I am happy with the way people here have showered me with love. What I have brought here is lots of love and what I have received here is lots of love,” he adds.
Khoosat also feels that his film Manto, which is based on the last seven years of Sadat Hassan Manto’s life, is extremely relevant in today’s times and the audience will be able to connect with the film. “Manto is a legacy of the subcontinent and stands for freedom of expression. The kind of response the film has generated in Pakistan and the way it has been received at the film festivals proves that. I believe what he had written during the last years of his life is still existing. Not much has changed,” said Khoosat, adding, Manto’s take on things like the effects of partition and how at the end of the day it’s the human beings who suffer is not history but truth.”
Watch: The trailer of Manto
“I wanted to go to Mumbai to show my film. It was going to be the Indian premiere of Manto and I was really excited about meeting some of the biggest and greatest names of Indian cinema (at the film festival in Mumbai) but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I have to move on but ‘kahin dukh to reh jaata hai’ (you do feel hurt).”