These days, Bollywood seems as interested in Biopics as it has ever been with love stories. Be it a sportsperson, a film actor, a politician, or any celebrity for that matter, Biopics is being treated in Bollywood, as if it’s a reply to the accusations of Bollywood stories always revolving around love relationships.
However, the genre of Biopics when executed by Bollywood film makers, is not flawless. Be it any biopic, it does nothing except over-glorifying the protagonist and celebrating his or her way of life, no matter how celebratory or derogatory it actually is.
Nandita Das’s recently released Biopic Manto
, on the other hand, is way different from other Biopics. It does not ask you to like or hate the writer that Saadat Hasan Manto is. It just asks you to accept him with all his flaws as an artist and as a product of the Pakistan. Nandita Das’s Manto, which is played by Nawazuddin Siddique, is a man divided between Bombay and Pakistan, being a Muslim. He’s also misunderstood for the kind of stories he writes. Das portrays all this in a very effective manner, but never glorifies her hero. She instead empathizes with her wife who is bearing the repercussions of her husband’s being a controversial writer.
A beautiful blend of literary and psychological aspects of the life of a writer who wrote his first-hand experience of the days of partition, without any glorification, indeed makes Manto an ideal Biopic which sets an example for other film makers who are mindlessly producing biopics without really understanding the actual meaning of a biopic.