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'Jashn-e-Rekhta' 2016: Nandita Das feels every Indian language should be celebrated

Nandita Das celebrates the power and poise of Urdu language and also revealed her upcoming project on the life of Saadat Hasan Manto; who’s a famous writer not only in Pakistan but also in India which Nandita likes to put in as ‘South Asia’s famous writer’.

Kriti Tulsiani | IBNLive.com@sleepingpsyche2

Updated:February 14, 2016, 8:06 AM IST

When all is said and done, what really matters is how much efforts one puts in taking an initiative for a better change, for promotion of something worthwhile, something much more than what our commercial cinema offers us.

At the ongoing Urdu festival ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’, we not only heard legends like Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi speak their hearts out about this royal language but also witnessed Nandita Das celebrating the power and poise of Urdu language and revealing her upcoming project on the life of Saadat Hasan Manto; who’s a famous writer not only in Pakistan but also in India which Nandita likes to put in as ‘South Asia’s famous writer’.

A file photo of Nandita Das.

While talking to IBNLive.com about the prominence of Urdu language in mainstream cinema, she quipped that a lot of our films already have some amount of Urdu influence on it. “Most of our films which, we call Hindi films, have a lot of Urdu in it already, the language we really speak is Hindustani and not really Hindi, so Urdu is very much part of the language which we speak.”

Though she confessed about not being as fluent in Urdu as the other speakers on the ‘Manto Ab Tak Hum Kalaam’ panel including Bimal Chadha and Dassarmad Sultan Khoosat, she still stressed on the fact that we should always celebrate all our Indian languages in any way we can.“We should celebrate all our different languages; Urdu is definitely a very important Indian language which should be commemorated and this is one of the largest festivals of not only Urdu but for any language that I’ve seen.”

While one of the panelists Dassarmad Sultan Khoosat have already made a picture ‘Manto’ in Pakistan, Nandita Das plans to take up a project on his life here in India. She believes that Manto’s struggles expressing his thoughts and opinions analogous to freedom struggle in today’s time in the context of creative artists. “It is important for our country but also for the artists, writers around the world who are struggling to find ways to say what they want to say.”

One of the reasons she wishes to direct a film on the writer is the fact that she admitted to relate to him on several levels. Quoting some similarities, she quipped, “He was very political but still defied it and said, ‘I am not’. He used to say ‘I know about politics as much as Gandhi ji knows about cinema’. So, that is something similar to me. People put the label of activist in front of my name but I tell them don’t use such a big word for me, leave it for those who actually do activism day and night.”

Titled 'Manto', the movie will revolve around Manto’s glorious days in Mumbai before partition took him to Lahore and how he perceived partition as. “My film is non-fiction in nature, as I was influenced by his work. Of course, we had to fictionalize few things including his pillow talks with his wife because that’s something we don’t really know. My movie will show partition from a single man’s perspective; it’s more about his personal journey, how partition affected him on a deeper level. In fact, Bombay itself is a character in the film.” On the other hand, the Pakistani fictional version of this film starts where Nandita plans to end hers

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