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MANTOSTAAN - The brutal essence of the stories gets completely lost in the ineffective adaptations. (Review By Bobby Sing)
10 May, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / BTC Exclusive / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / M

If there is a film released on the famous short stories of Saadat Hassan MANTO, then I need to be there even if it is being shown more than 30 kms away from my home at a high end multiplex involving a whooping cost of around 400+ rupees, once again pointing towards the faulty exhibition system in our country.
 
Though unfortunately the aptly titled MANTOSTAAN falls way short of the original shocking impact of MANTO’s short stories, but honestly I cannot get how the exhibitors can even expect the unaware viewers to spend 300 rupees for a ticket of such experimental film (showing in a single show at just 2-3 cinemas in the entire city like Delhi), when they are not even opting for most of the well-publicized films too in the theaters, unless they hear a strong word of mouth about their worth.
 
Anyway coming to the film, the only positive feature of MANTOSTAAN remains the courage and noble intention behind its making, as the film simply fails to re-create the teasing tension and brutal shocks experienced while reading the original short stories of the master. And the basic reason behind the mediocre outcome is the questionable execution of director Rahat Kazmi, who instead of narrating the stories separately, mixes them without having any kind of relation with each other, even when they are from different time-frames (particularly the one dealing with the border forces).
 
Moreover the tacky production design and faulty representations are unable to transport the viewer back in them and one doesn’t feel the fear of those specific ‘inhuman’ months of the year 1947. For instance, the stylishly cut hairs of the key women characters (falling on their faces in the close-ups) do not represent the era of 1940s from any angle. And then the forced broken Punjabi spoken by almost all in the cast (particularly Sonal and the army men) actually keeps annoying right till the end lacking any kind of originality and emotional depth.
 
To be specific, its completely different experience reading a story wherein a character says words like Ram Singha…… Isher Seyaan….. repeatedly in his dialogues, because while reading an individual reads the words in his own likable tone as per the understanding of the said language and era. However when an actor speaks enacts the same words in a play or on screen then it all depends on the interpretation or presentation as per the brief given by the director about the finer details of the language, its original accent and the sound. Sadly there is no finesse seen in this specific department in MANTOSTAAN which essentially serves as the backbone of any period film recreating a gone-era. In fact, many a times it actually looks like an amateur kind of attempt because of its language alone, which ironically gets officially mentioned as URDU.
 
Despite having such explosive content in hand, the actors never rise above the routine offering all uninspiring acts. But the fault completely lies with the writing and execution department to be fair, completely ruining the original thought provoking texture of the chosen stories (with the biggest victim remaining the one related with the border forces). So I would not like to blame the actors including veterans such as Virendra Saxena and Raghuvir Yadav along with Sonal Sehgal, Raina Bassnet and Shoib Shah.
 
In short MANTOSTAAN doesn’t represent MANTO at all and thus cannot and should not be referred to anyone who isn’t known or haven’t read any of his stories till now. The joy and uneasiness felt while reading MANTO is nowhere to be found in this below average film and therefore all you should do is, note down the name of its four stories chosen by the director and then read the original text in Urdu or Hindi (avoiding English translations) meeting the real MANTO.
 
In fact that can only be rated as the most positive contribution of this mediocre film, which probably managed to reach and participate in many festivals just because of its theme of Indian Partition and the still working reputation of the one and only MANTO.
So just forget about the ratings and note down the titles of the four stories as Khol Do, Thanda Ghosht, Aakhri Salute and Gurmukh Singh Ki Wasiyat.
 
You can read these four and all other MANTO’s stories at the following link:
 
And making a bold personal statement, it becomes difficult for me to consider anyone well-read in both India and Pakistan if he hasn’t read MANTO in his given lifetime.
 
Rating : 1+1 / 5 (Including the additional 1 just for the courage and noble intentions)

Tags : Mantostaan Review by Bobby Sing, Mantostaan Movie Review based on Manto Short Stories, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
10 May 2017 / Comment ( 0 )
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