Nandita Das speaking on ‘Manto’ in Dhaka Lit Fest-2018. Photo: Shadman Muhtasim Chowdhury

Promila Kanya
With a room full of people from all ages and all walks of life, there was one particular person on stage who was outshining every one with her soft, confident tone and utter understanding of the audience’s emotions. She was none other than Nandita Das, a prolific actor turned filmmaker who is in the capital for the Dhaka Literary Fest 2018. Her film ‘Manto’ was premiered at the Lit Fest on Thursday, following the show she spent an hour of Q&A session with the audience.
It didn’t come off as a surprise when Nandita Das announced to make ‘Manto’ because she had long envisioned and spoken about covering many different issues as a filmmaker. Her longing to create something unique was reflected in many interviews and discussions. The audience’s reaction at the AKSB Auditorium of Bangla Academy was sufficient to understand that ‘Manto’ is going to become one of those rare film jewels which leave its mark on the audience’s mind forever. As she herself said it, her niyaat or intention was to make something about Saadat Hasan Manto, the famous Urdu author.
Apart from her film, Nandita also spoke on her views on filmmaking and patiently answered all the questions directed at her by the audience. A young man asked her about her filmmaking subjects and she said that film making is not science, it’s alchemy and you have to go with the flow and see where everything comes together. When asked about Bollywood’s role in raising awareness about social issues or the #metoo movement, she said, “Before we point fingers at others, we should point fingers at ourselves first. We can also bring these changes.” At one point, she gracefully apologized for not knowing a lot about Bollywood.

The writer works with Bangladesh Post