To be intellectually emotionally and physically equipped to play the Urdu litterateur Sadat Haasan Manto, Nawazuddin is in a complete quest for creative quarantine. Explaining what he has in mind the meticulous actor says, “My director Nandita Das has done so much research on Manto I feel I know him well enough to get into his mind and body. The body part is relatively easier. I need to dress the way he did, and as long as I’m playing this astounding man I need to live my life the way he did. Alone writing words that created magic on paper.”
Now that the promotions for Raees are almost over Nawaz will free himself of all other commitments. “I will shut myself away from all communication. Nandita has done three years of research on Manto and I feel empowered by the knowledge of this amazing man’s literary wisdom.”
The committed actor has been reading up as much as humanly possible on Manto. “I plan to recreate Manto’s world around me. I will have my room re-furnished with the things that Manto lived with. I will dress like him, try to eat the food that he did, sleep on the kind of bed that he did, wear his clothes and talk like him. If I enter Manto’s physical world I feel I can penetrate his mind.”
Nawaz feels there is too much celebration of mediocrity in our cinema. “We applaud even the smallest of achievements as though it was a great achievement. I want to get away from the tendency be praised for ordinary work. In Manto I hope to create a figure who won’t let down Manto.”
It’s an uphill climb ahead for Nawaz. “I know I’ve set goals that may be very difficult to achieve. But I am determined to make Manto proud of the film on his life. I know he’s watching us.”
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