Manto (2018) Movie Script

Hurry! Kishori is waiting.
Come now.
They've come in a car.
-They've been waiting for so long.
Quickly send the girl.
I'll fix the fan later.
I'm waiting outside.
Ma, Shanta is old enough now.
Send her along.
Okay. I'll ask her mother and send her
with you someday.
Look at me.
You jump around all day.
Hurry up!
-Sarita, going out again?
-I'll be back soon.
-Don't trouble the clients.
-I won't. What color is the car?
You'll see.
The pimp is here.
She's too young.
Hello. Sorry, we're late.
It's okay.
-I hope she won't make a fuss.
-No, trust me.
-Get in.
-At the back.
Oh, there?
-Come in.
They've paid good money.
Don't trouble them, okay?
-Here you go.
Thank you, sir.
-What's your name?
-My name is Kifaayat.
Like a bird in the forest
I will sing...
Here. Taste it.
She is not a girl,
she's a firecracker.
Come on!
Catch her!
Grab her!
Stop running away!
Splash some on him!
Come here, my firecracker!
Let's go to the car.
I have no reason to take this money.
He looked back and saw...
Shahab and Anwar lay slumped
just like the ten rupee note.
Look how he stares.
Do you fear those eyes too?
Not as much as your stories.
Nighi, my baby!
My darling...
come here.
Baby, you're awake?
Why do you buy so many pens
when you don't even use them?
Father's pens...
-How are you, Das?
-I'm fine.
What are you doing?
Go away.
Good morning.
Now get up, slowly.
Oh, sage!
Why is life's journey so difficult?
Because God tests us at every step.
So how do we pass the test of life?
Child, by sowing the seeds of love.
What's this rubbish?
-What is this?
-Mr. Manto?
"Sow the seeds of love!"
What the hell?
Ask him to stop tossing flowers.
Take it off.
Why did you change my lines?
Back from Lahore?
I hear the court acquitted you again.
Take it off.
It's a challenging role.
Mr. Manto...
your luck will make our film
a super hit.
-Some tea?
-2800 rupees.
I can't pay that much right now.
Let's settle for 1800, shall we?
Okay, give me what you have.
The rest, next week.
Deposit the cheque after Monday.
Meaning? I need the money now.
-Then I can give you only 1200.
-What nonsense!
the dark one is attractive, but...
Take the fair one.
Manto, the choice is yours.
1200 in cash now,
or 1800 on Monday.
-You decide.
Ismat and Manto,
in honor of both your acquittals.
What are you doing?
Not now, boy.
Promise, I'll make sure
you remove it.
Get down!
This was my first and last trial.
I've no desire to be a regular
in court like Manto.
Listen to this.
"It's disgraceful that Saadat Hasan Manto
was acquitted for the third time.
He and his obscene story, The Smell
should've been banned.
But, sadly--"
You should instead worry about the
anonymous hate letters
that I get.
You too, Ismat?
Imagine a woman writing
that too about two women
in a relationship?
God forbid!
I loved the story, so different.
It could make some uncomfortable but--
Making such people uncomfortable
is comforting.
The Quilt is the best story
you've written.
-Except for that silly last line.
-What's wrong with it?
-Utterly useless.
"When the quilt was lifted,
what I saw...
I would not reveal
for a million rupees!"
The line's good enough for you
to remember it.
Stop, you two.
these endless court cases
must trouble you a lot.
He won't admit it,
but it troubles him too.
I told you to join the
Progressive Writers' Association but--
Is a writer only progressive
if he joins the Association?
-When did I say so? I meant--
-Mr. Krishan Chander, M.A.,
I hear people refer to progressive
literature as Saadat Hasan Manto,
and those who don't like harsh
words, call it Ismat Chughtai!
I think you overdo it.
What's the point of provoking
people all the time?
If you cannot bear my stories...
it is because we live
in unbearable times.
So focus on the struggle
of the mill workers,
or the atrocities of the British.
But you? Even in such times,
you worry about prostitutes.
-Am I wrong?
I was 22 when I came here.
From the window of my room
at Faras Road,
I saw women vanishing into
their pigeonholes with vile men.
Why mustn't I write about them?
Are they not part of our society?
They are.
After all, men don't go to
prostitutes to pray.
When they can go there freely,
why can't we write about them?
How could you see what was going on
behind those closed doors
from your window?
Don't believe me?
Come, see for yourself.
Ismat is just teasing you.
Don't get upset.
Anybody coming along or should I go?
Manto, sit.
It was just a joke.
Don't worry, Safia.
He'll go to Clare Road,
smoke a cigarette,
and return with another story
in his pocket.
You coming up or should I come down?
Looking for something?
A girl?
Got one upstairs.
Get up!
I've brought a client.
Let me sleep.
He's the last one.
You can sleep later.
Leave me alone.
Get up, my love. Don't fuss.
How else will we eat?
Then let me starve to death.
But I don't want to.
Get up, you bloody whore!
Get up!
I beg you.
I haven't slept for days.
For God's sake, have pity on me.
Let go!
Do as I say.
I am not asking you!
Can't you get it in your thick skull?
Get lost! Let me sleep.
I'll kill you.
"Those who want the British to go
are insane.
Thanks to them, we have progressed.
Corpses were buried before
but now every grave is numbered,
so it's easy."
You can note it down
with your other numbers.
For instance, shoe size: 5.
Telephone: 44457.
Insurance policy: 225689.
Mother's grave: 4817."
Mother wanted to be buried
next to father.
-Let's pray for both.
Only for our mother.
You pray nowhere else.
Keep God close to you, Saadat.
I always begin my writing
with the holy number, 786.
Because our mother made
you swear that you would.
Here lies Saadat Hasan Manto...
buried with the mysteries
of short-story writing.
Under the earth, he wonders
if he's the greater storyteller,
or God.
God! You talk rubbish.
Have you accepted the job in Lahore?
-No way.
-Who'll pay you 1000 rupees a month here?
-No one. But I'll only live here.
We'll be safer there.
Live on the streets or in a mansion,
this city asks no questions.
But if Bombay decides to go there,
I might go with it!
Be serious sometimes.
Few more days of grief,
Few more days of torture
These days, too shall pass
As they have before
Some day the spring will return
To our garden
If there is a heaven,
Bring it down to earth
-Two for Byculla.
-V.T. station.
You didn't bring your camera?
-You never take my photo.
-I will.
Don't I look like a star?
For sure, Shyam Chaddha.
-It's hot. Take that off.
-Stars don't feel hot.
The bloody English will finally
have to leave.
Look at this batsman's name.
-That's an odd name.
You're a star, Shyam Chaddha.
Don't smoke those.
They're for petty clerks.
-You're doing well!
-Just a little.
They are impossible to find.
One more please?
For my return journey.
Stop "Hiptullifying!"
The train's not running away.
-Long live the Revolution!
-Long live "Hiptulla!"
Arif would've been his age.
Five years, three months.
Our son is still with us, Safia.
He'll leave this world
only when we do.
Look at her.
Like a thick whip, her braid
is slapping her back.
She has a beard and a mustache.
So you find facial hair
on women repulsive?
Not at all.
Neither does Hameeda.
Her name is Hameeda?
Do you shave too?
No. I use Baby Touch.
When I rub it here, it makes me sneeze.
But the mustache is back in a week.
Hameeda must use Baby Touch too.
No, she uses a razor.
I see.
And what?
You're the writer.
But anyone can weave a story.
That's true.
There was a boy in Hameeda's college,
Decent and kind.
Just like you.
He wanted to befriend Hameeda.
But never had the courage.
Your turn.
One day he saw some boys teasing her.
"Mr. Hameeda!
"You get two for one ticket!
A man and a woman."
Rasheed wanted to say something,
but stayed quiet.
He stayed quiet?
A few days later, Hameeda fell ill.
She wrote to Rasheed
and he came running.
He saw Hameeda's face,
covered in thick hair.
He quickly boiled some water.
Made foam from soap,
softened her beard
and gently shaved her.
Now Rasheed shaves not
one, but two faces.
Aren't sandals more comfortable?
Jinnah says we're safer there--
Jinnah? Nehru? Who are they to me?
Bhendi Bazaar is my country.
I wouldn't move to Grant Road,
and you're sending me to Karachi?
This is their country.
It's just a slogan:
"Hindu-Muslim, brother-brother."
-They'll kill us, burn our homes.
-It's the same there.
No river of peace is flowing there.
Our ancestors are buried here.
And so will I be.
Got it?
As you wish. But I'm going.
You're Mr. Manto, right?
So happy to meet you.
We just met and you're already happy?
I buy the Mussavar magazine only for you.
But no column last Friday?
Maybe politics took preference.
What happened?
Some admirer caught you?
When I look at my ugly feet,
I feel like mourning.
My feet are worse.
Too feminine!
So what?
You have a keen interest in women.
Doesn't mean I want
to become one.
We'll kill you Muslims!
We'll burn your shops!
Don't worry. I'll get you out
through the back door.
Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan!
Muslims go to Pakistan!
We'll kill you all!
-Come on.
Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan!
Muslims go to Pakistan!
Safia, wake up.
Sorry, my love.
But we must celebrate
this day together. Come.
Look, Nighi!
Look at the sky.
Long live India!
Victory to India!
You'll be born in a free India.
-Mr. Ashok, what about my shooting dates?
Ismat, I read your story.
Mr. Naushad!
-My friend.
-What are you drinking?
I'll go get one.
What happened?
Still didn't meet him?
-No, I was just--
-Come on.
-Ashok, you've met Safia?
-What are you saying?
How could I forget her
delicious Keema Parathas?
Then why be shy?
Shake her hand.
Here, let's shake hands!
Not drinking?
Himanshu! Excuse me.
Mr. Manto, did you read my script?
How was it?
Asif, these days I charge a fee
for my opinion.
-I was kidding.
How are you?
Sorry, Jaddan Bai.
One minute.
Here's your fees.
So, how was the script?
Utter rubbish.
-You're so cruel.
-No, Jaddan Bai, he's right.
That's why I've decided to make
And that's a script you
won't need to read.
Here, have another!
Aren't you going to Lahore
for your sister's wedding?
Yes, but without him.
-He refuses to come.
-Why, Manto?
Isn't everyone suggesting
you go to Pakistan?
We're fine here.
Just a minute.
-Ashok, you got a fourth letter.
-What letter?
Nothing, it's just...
They accuse Bombay Talkies
of hiring too many Muslims.
Who's "they?"
Some cowards, writing anonymously.
They aren't wrong.
Sagar and Filmistan Studios have fewer.
Me, Ismat, Shahid, Kamall...
-It's nobody's business who we hire.
-Fire me. You'll have one less.
No need to be a martyr.
-It's not about--
-Forget it.
Tell me.
Why did you say my script
had less "Hiptulla"?
-Because it did.
-What do you mean?
Ladies and gentlemen...
I can't believe our country
is finally free.
But we played no role in it.
We shed no blood, no sweat.
Now the time has come...
for us to play a responsible role.
today's celebration will only be complete
if Jaddan Bai sings.
What do you say?
What do I say?
What meeting you
Has meant to me
I understood the meaning of suffering
I found my heart
What do I say?
What do I say?
What meeting you has meant to me
I discovered the meaning of suffering
I found my heart
What do I say?
Tear away my wounded heart
Tear away my wounded heart
Or believe in my loyalty to you
I discovered the meaning of suffering
I found my heart
What do I say?
That letter came three months ago.
Has anything happened yet?
You're not the only Muslim at the studio.
But now they're threatening to burn
down the studio.
-I don't want you to--
-Relax, Manto.
It's nothing but madness. It'll pass.
-Why did you take this turn?
-It's a shortcut. I know the way.
But it is a Muslim area.
What's this?
Since when?
What are you doing?
What if they recognize you?
They know you're a Hindu.
-Put it on, please!
-Are you crazy?
Ashok Kumar?
It's Ashok Kumar!
The star!
Ashok Kumar!
Ashok sir, the road ahead is blocked.
Take the side street.
Let them pass. Move.
-Go on.
Goodbye, Mr. Ashok.
You got scared for no reason.
What's wrong with you, Manto?
You had a valid reason.
-You were right to be scared.
-How was I right?
Haven't I seen crowds before?
Or wedding processions?
But you haven't seen
times like these either.
-That's why caps have to be bought.
A Hindu cap and a Muslim cap.
What to do? When religion leaps
from the heart to the head,
you need to wear caps.
Thanks to father, Saadat is fearful.
But he--
I'm glad you and Nighi are going.
By the time you'll be back,
things will get better.
I'm putting this in.
It feels strange going alone.
Why? Little Nighi will be with you.
Don't worry. My sister is going too.
I'm more worried about you.
Oh, I forgot to tell you.
Shyam is moving in for a few days.
-His shoe size is 9, right?
I'll bring him a pair.
You had forgotten the last time.
I am your moon, you are my moonlight
My love is not a passing romance
I am your song, you are my melody
I am your song, you are my melody
You don't seem to be in the mood, Shyam.
Let's stop the rehearsals now.
Please let me try, Mr. Naushad.
It'll be fine tomorrow.
See you at 9:00, at the studio.
What's the matter, my star?
Your heart wasn't in it.
My uncle from Rawalpindi is here.
Come with me.
Why? All okay?
Then the mob came closer,
shouting, "kill them!"
I told everyone to hide in the storeroom.
But, Manjeet...
My eldest son.
I told him,
"Let me stand guard with you."
But he wouldn't let me.
And before I knew it
they smashed the door
and the windows.
We ran to the rooftop.
And we somehow, got to the station.
I wanted to go back to find him.
But how could I?
How could I leave mother?
Or my daughters.
Look at them.
Still cowering with fear.
And my wife...
she has not said a word since then.
"Where will the bones be burnt or buried
once the religious flesh is peeled away?"
For God's sake!
Stop giving everything a literary spin.
They are not characters from your stories.
They are my people.
Living, breathing. Real people.
Either everybody's lives matter,
or nobody's.
All this is easy for you to say...
or write?
It's not.
Those bloody Muslims!
I am a Muslim too, Shyam.
If there were a riot here,
it's possible you'd kill me!
Yes, it's possible I'd kill you.
What are you doing?
Have you gone crazy?
Not all Muslims are running to Pakistan.
And you, of all people?
My friend...
Look, you can't leave.
I won't let you.
You're hardly a Muslim anyway.
Enough to be killed.
I should have visited
my mother's grave.
My friend...
-I so regret what I said.
-Never mind, Shyam.
You would've regretted it more
had you killed me.
Remember Govind once gave us
a paan?
We didn't have any money to pay him.
I still owe him a rupee.
I'll pay him.
I want to stay indebted
to this city forever.
Bloody pig.
Pakistani pig.
Long live Pakistan!
Long live India!
Wasn't there a shoe store here?
Still is. After 9:00.
How many?
Worth this much.
Uncle, did you hear?
Gandhi has been killed.
-Who did it?
-Some Hindu.
Three bullets in the chest.
Oh God!
You insolent man!
You don't even know how
to give bad news. Get lost!
Here, child, eat this.
Found Sakina?
Any news?
-Have you found my Sakina?
-Don't worry. You'll find her.
You've been saying that for four days.
Now tell me, what did your
Sakina look like?
I've already told you.
She's barely seventeen.
Very beautiful.
Big eyes, hair this long.
A mole on her cheek.
I promise she'll be found today.
When will you find her?
That's what you keep saying.
has anybody seen my Sakina?
Big eyes, long black hair.
A mole...
-What is it?
I am her father.
Open it!
The dead body moved.
Her lifeless hand untied the drawstring
and she pulled her trousers down.
Old Sirajuddin screamed with joy!
"She's alive! My daughter is alive!"
The doctor broke into a cold sweat.
Open it.
I'll print it, Mr. Manto.
How do you think of such stories?
It'll haunt me for days.
And the story Cold Meat?
It's too hot to handle for my magazine.
Please sit.
you don't use a typewriter?
The noise makes my thoughts
fly away like butterflies.
A pencil is enough for me.
What about your expensive
Sheaffers and Parkers?
They're somewhere in a drawer.
But don't assume that because it's written
with a pencil, it can be erased.
When you never erase your own words,
how can anyone else dare to?
One minute.
-Here's your ghee.
-Thank you, Nadeem.
Now I won't need to send it
all the way to Bombay.
-I can't believe you moved here.
-Well, Bombay lives within me.
Who wrote this poem?
The Dawn of Freedom.
Every time I read it...
"This mottled light,
This night-stained dawn,
This is not the dawn we had waited for.
This is not the dawn we longed for,
as we set out to find
the final destination of the
stars in the sky's wilderness.
Somewhere, the night-weary waves
will find their shore.
Somewhere our grief-laden ship
will find its anchor."
Give it here.
Are you going to empty
your entire house?
Uncle's books are scattered.
At least they'll be put in order.
Nuzhi took all my toys.
-And what did you do?
-I came to you.
Then sit here.
Let me tell you a story. Okay?
Once, there was Nani,
her sister was called Nahani.
And her brother was Bisaula.
She built three villages.
Two with people. One without.
Then came three guests.
Two sulked, one wasn't pleased.
The one that wasn't pleased
got three kisses.
One, here. One, there.
And one got left out!
Uncle, please come.
The food is getting cold.
have you thought of getting a job?
But if you say, I can become a
government servant.
Or sell potions like
that quack Ghulam Ahmad.
Besides, I'm finding it
difficult to write.
Why? Why is that?
What do I write?
This morning, six brutes kidnapped
a woman from a bus terminus.
After ravaging her, they left her
naked on a chilly night.
She ran with her child
who died in her arms.
Must I write all this?
My third kiss?
I won't give it.
Don't worry. I'll write enough
so you'll never starve.
That's my worry.
It's because of your writing
that we'll starve.
I hope the article
isn't too serious this time.
Something lighter, perhaps?
It's about cigarette freeloaders.
What's lighter than smoke?
Well said!
Excuse me.
Mr. Manto.
Your stories always show a
special empathy towards women.
-Why so?
-Not for all women.
Some for the one who isn't selling
herself, but is still being bought.
And some for the one
who works all night...
and sleeps in the day,
waking up terrified
every time she dreams of old age
knocking at her door.
That whore could be my heroine.
So shall we discuss the payment?
What's there to discuss?
The usual, 50 rupees.
-You must be joking.
-About what?
Can't pay more than 20.
Now you're joking.
Trust me, it's impossible.
You can finish it at home
and bring it tomorrow.
For 20 rupees, you want me
to come here twice?
Long live India!
Long live Pakistan!
Amidst these slogans,
many questions were raised.
When we were enslaved,
we dreamt of freedom.
Now that we are free,
what do we dream of?
"Which country is mine?
Why are people being butchered?"
All these questions
have different answers.
An Indian answer and a Pakistani answer.
A Hindu answer and a Muslim answer.
Some look for answers
in the debris of the 1857 uprising.
Some hold the East India Company
And others rummage through
the remains of the Mughal Empire.
They all look into the past.
While the murderers today,
write history with blood and arms.
Listening to these words
if you were to hit me,
I wouldn't let out a sigh.
But in a Hindu-Muslim riot,
if someone were to kill me,
every drop of my blood
would weep.
I am an artist.
I don't like petty wounds
and pointless bruises.
When I plunged into
the sea of blood...
that men shed of men,
I found a few pearls;
of tears, regret and shame.
They're in my new book.
Black Margins.
I'll read you three stories.
"You sold me petrol
at black market prices,
but it was so impure that
it did not burn a single shop."
"Ripping the belly,
the knife slid down
slashing the pajamas.
The killer let out a prayer
looking at the naked man.
Forgive me, Allah,
I made a mistake."
And the last story.
It's called The Need for Rest.
"He is not dead.
There is some life left.
Forget it, my friend.
I'm tired."
I wish all our meetings were as packed.
as per the custom,
the writer is present here.
If you have any valuable comments,
please offer them now.
-So let's wrap up--
I am Ansaar Shabnam Dil.
Forgive me.
I find your stories
depressing and nihilistic.
Reading them, one would want
to kill themselves.
If his name were as flowery as yours,
then he'd want to.
Young man,
you cannot know how others feel.
So speak for yourself.
Mr. Manto,
you're aware that the speaker isn't
allowed to respond to comments.
Mr. Manto!
Mr. Manto!
Incredible! What a speech.
I had goose bumps.
Shall we?
-No, Shaad, I'm going home today.
-Clifton Bar will miss you.
At least a sip?
It's my last bottle.
Mr. Manto...
I'm sorry,
I didn't mean to offend you.
Well, you can't.
Your stories are so disturbing.
Cold Meat left me sleepless.
-That's good.
-Yes, but...
So, even in such times,
just like the so-called "Progressives,"
you choose to be optimistic as well?
-Always looking for a silver lining!
Give me.
I'm the secretary of the
Literary Society at Government College.
If you could please address the students.
First ask your Principal...
if I can come drunk.
I'll ask.
-Do you know him?
-He owes me money.
I see.
When he sees me,
he gets embarrassed.
He's a good man.
He'll pay when he can.
This is the Lakshmi Mansion.
Hindus have lived here for years.
Some were butchered.
Others were thrown out.
Now we live here.
Tell me, what's there
to be hopeful about?
Everyone's looking for you.
Thanks to these Parsis...
it feels a bit like Bombay.
-If the students could--
-Talk to your Principal.
What happened?
He never said...
There he is.
I told you he wasn't home.
-What's going on?
-They're searching--
Mr. Manto.
You've been charged with obscenity
for your story Cold Meat.
The search warrant.
-Please speak softly.
-The children are sleeping.
I hear you write a lot.
Where is it all?
Only some papers and a bottle was found.
Check the bathroom.
What is this?
Are you kidding?
It's a Bombay address.
All my belongings are there.
-This is all we found.
-Throw it out.
The traveler goes
From place to place
Forgetting his way home
Didn't Shyam used to sing this song?
He does not know
What belongs to you, or to me
Forgetting who he can call his own
Fine then.
See you in court.
-Let's go.
-Sir, one minute.
Are you okay?
What song are you talking about?
What has been forgotten?
How was it forgotten?
Why do you ask?
Just accept that he is not to blame
The simple man just simply forgot
The traveler goes
From place to place
Forgetting his way home
Saadat Hasan Manto
for writing Cold Meat,
and publisher Anwar,
and editor Mateen, for printing it
are charged for obscenity.
This is a crime under Section 292
of the Penal Code.
Where have you been
in the last few days?
I don't know.
What sort of an answer is that?
What's wrong, my love?
Where were you?
Let's play a game of cards.
Get off.
Stop playing, Ishar!
Throw your trump card.
Ishar Singh, throw your trump.
Throw your trump!
Who's that bitch
who squeezed you dry?
Who is she?
No one, Kulwant.
No one.
Swear to God that there's
no woman involved.
I asked you who is that bitch?
Who is she?
Men are motherfucking creatures!
Get to the point!
You fucking slit my throat!
Don't expect me to speak faster.
The house I broke into...
had seven people.
I killed six of them.
With the same dagger that you...
Let it go!
there was a girl.
Very beautiful.
I carried her on my shoulders.
On the way...
I laid her down on the grass.
First I thought...
I'd only play.
I threw my trump card.
-But, what?
She was dead.
She was a corpse.
Just like...
cold meat.
My love.
Give me your hand.
What do you think of this story?
It's sick and perverse.
Filled with sexual overtones.
The characters shamelessly
use filthy language.
Such stories corrupt the
morality of our youth.
Please elaborate.
As writers, it's our responsibility
to tell the youth
about our sacrifices
and victories.
Write about bravery and hope. Not--
Yes! The truth must never be told.
Tear up the pages you don't like.
It's not about what's true or false.
All I'm saying is that if you want
the freedom to write,
then you must also know
a writer's responsibilities.
That's all, Your Honor.
I warned you not to write
to all the writers.
You've given the prosecutor
a witness on a platter.
Never mind, Mr. Khalid.
For every Zaidi, there's a Faiz.
In this country, writers should know
what's obscene and what's not.
This is not a literary battle,
it's a court case.
Do you realize how serious
the charges are?
Mr. Khalid,
the defense may call their
next witness.
I request the famous Urdu poet
and Chief Editor of Pakistan Times,
Faiz Ahmad Faiz to take the stand.
Mr. Faiz, as the convener
of the Press Branch,
do you confirm it filed charges
of obscenity against Cold Meat?
Yes. But I was totally against it.
I said it then and I still believe
-that this story is not obscene.
-And its language?
It's not parliamentary,
but from a literary standpoint,
it's not obscene either.
Though the story does not measure up
to the high standards of literature.
But it's not at all obscene.
That's all for today.
-Mr. Manto?
-Call me back to Bombay.
Mr. Manto, come with me.
Mr. Manto, come on.
What were you saying to that woman?
Let's go!
What are you doing?
Let's go.
Open them.
They all write to you
but you never...
That was another world.
The one you chose to leave.
I don't understand.
People say things they don't
mean in a fit of anger.
It's not what Shyam said.
Maybe, someday I too
could've thought of the same.
We are not so different.
-Open it.
-Leave it.
Open it.
At least read Ismat's letter.
"Manto, my friend, my enemy.
I've been thinking of you today.
Remember when we first met?
I was as nervous
as someone before a school exam.
I had heard your tongue
has a poisonous sting.
But from the first moment,
we were informal and open.
It seemed as though we were
making up for lost time.
My letters may not have the strength
to bring you back
but you can at least answer them."
"Manto is a humane writer who has
seen the filth of the society.
Yet, he has now chosen
the path of sensationalism.
In his stories in Black Margins,
he seems to be
stealing cigarette butts
and rings from corpses.
Manto, the Progressives are
imploring you
to elevate your writing and bring
emotional intensity to it."
I'll be right back.
May I sit here?
It's a public place. Sit anywhere.
You could've told me in person.
You are hard to find these days.
Sorry, Mr. Manto but
I don't come to such places.
The government is after our friends.
Our comrades are being jailed.
And you refuse to even
recognize your enemies?
People like Shaad--
Don't worry about when, where
and who I am with.
And which friends are you talking about?
The comrades who passed
resolutions against me?
Or those who write open letters?
I worry.
That's why I wrote.
That's why I am here.
what have you done to yourself?
-Those scroungers have poisoned you--
-You needn't worry about me.
-I'm just trying to--
I made you my friend...
not the priest of my conscience.
Our lawyer had to go to Karachi
for personal reasons.
We request you to postpone the hearing.
Arrange for another lawyer.
If you permit,
I'd like to represent myself.
Very well.
You may cross-examine the witness.
Thank you.
Maulana, please come.
Maulana Tahir.
You said, "People should be spared
from reading Cold Meat."
If anyone dares to read it in public,
people would spit on his face.
And if read in private, it'll make
their conscience impure.
Reading the end of the story, did you--
The first part itself was
so disgusting that...
God Almighty!
"Your mouth locked on mine.
Your tongue entwined with mine.
Your love engulfing me,
your embrace squeezing me."
Respect the court,
and stick to the case.
That's what I'm doing, Your Honor.
What's your opinion on this verse?
Where did you find this filth?
-Then the poem must be obscene too?
-Most certainly.
-So the poet must be obscene too?
-Of course.
But what are you trying
to get me to say?
That, to understand a literary work,
we must know the context.
A writer must not be judged
by a word or a line
but by his body of work.
As times change, it is important
that literature changes too.
For your information, the verse
was by Khwaja Mir Dard.
-I thought you'd know.
-That's enough.
Maulana, you may go.
The defense may now call his witness.
I'd like to call the
Principal of Dayal Singh College.
Abid Ali Abid, MA LLB.
Mr. Abid, would you say that
Cold Meat is obscene?
Before I answer this question,
we need to decide what's "obscene"?
Many books are considered obscene
not only by the readers
but by their writers
and publishers too.
So they're published under false names.
The purpose of these writers
is to arouse cheap sexual fantasies.
-Does Cold Meat do that too?
-Not at all.
In fact...
even your character's conscience
is badly shaken by the incident.
My daughter and I have read
this story.
And we both believe it is
one of Manto's finest works.
Thank you, Mr. Abid.
-So then does--
You made your point. You may go.
That's all for today.
This is a courtroom, not your home,
Mr. Manto.
Smoking is forbidden.
But I wasn't going to, Your Honor.
"Dear Uncle, greetings.
This letter is from
your Pakistani nephew,
whom no one knows in
your land of seven freedoms.
You are my favourite uncle.
So, I request you to give me,
for a good cause,
a teeny-weeny...
atom bomb!
You, have done many noble deeds.
Like decimating Hiroshima
and Nagasaki.
Thanks to you, many American
children were born in Japan."
So true!
"Here, many pious people,
after urinating on the street,
wipe themselves...
with a lump of clay.
They shove it into their pajamas
to dry clean themselves.
Whenever I see such a man
I want to throw
that miniature atom bomb at him,
so he goes up in smoke
with his lump of clay!"
Manto should send
his Letters to Uncle Sam to the US.
-Now listen.
He says...
"I was born in a place
that is now in India.
My mother is buried there
and so is my father.
My first born child, Arif,
is also buried there.
But that is no longer my country.
Now my country is Pakistan.
Like my country, I was divided
for the sake of freedom.
You can imagine what freedom is
for a bird with clipped wings."
Mr. Manto!
You're here!
Why didn't you come for the film?
If you hadn't come here,
I would've kidnapped you.
First tell me, how are you?
How do I look?
-And my Bombay?
-Must be fine.
I was in Amritsar for a week.
Strange! An hour's distance
and a completely different country.
No, wait.
Now tell me.
Why don't you answer my letters?
Ismat is angry,
Ashok is worried, and I am upset with you.
Nothing left to say, Shyam.
So come back!
Bombay awaits you with open arms.
What's wrong?
Aren't you writing for films?
I know the owner of Tehseen Pictures.
Should I talk to him?
-I tried. I did try--
-Mr. Shyam!
You may talk to us as well.
I am thrilled to be back
in my beloved city of Lahore.
This is where I learnt
the art of romance.
Wine and seduction go well together.
We'll go. What's the hurry?
Stop smoking that rubbish!
They are for petty clerks,
not for writers like you.
Here, keep it.
-Keep it.
Give it to me.
When's the final hearing?
Sometime later this year.
Or maybe next year, or the year after...
or the year after that.
Come on, get up!
-Lahore is your city now.
-No. Safia is alone with the girls.
-No, no.
-Stop "Hiptullifying!" Keep it.
Let's go, Mr. Shyam.
Don't delay.
Even the dance show would be over by now.
Don't move. I'll be right back.
Stay put.
-Let's get on the swing.
-Nuzhi, careful!
I would've preferred it
if Faiz had called my story obscene,
And not that "it does not measure up
to the high standards of literature."
You're still thinking about that?
Here I'm panicking about
the judge's verdict.
Father, look what happened to my snake.
Oh! Let's fix it.
You want me to straighten the tail?
Father, your mouth smells bad.
Nuzhi, look father fixed my snake.
I'm helpless, Safia.
"I am not a song or a melody.
I am the voice of my defeat."
Quoting Ghalib won't
solve your problems.
If you keep writing and
drinking like this--
It keeps me alive.
What about those who are alive
and in your life?
All your empathy is for
your characters.
In the end, all that remains
are stories and their characters.
-I just want the man I married.
-But I drank even then.
And I told this to your father
when I first met him.
You used to drink but not like this.
Now you've started even in the day.
-How did this happen?
-Never mind.
Someone who does not care for himself,
how can he care for others?
If you think I'm so terrible,
leave me.
All right.
If that's what you want.
I'll leave after the trial.
Mother, push me.
I admit that Cold Meat
is written by me.
But from no angle, is it obscene.
You can decide if you
like my story or not.
Literary critics can debate if it
meets their standards or not.
But my story is literature
and literature can never be obscene.
The prosecutor has focused
on Ishar Singh's foul language.
In their daily lives, thousands use
the words that my character speaks.
For instance, if I said...
"You're a fucker, I'm here
and you're looking for me there!"
Or if I said...
"This bloody judge is not a bad man."
Am I cussing at him?
Don't people use such language?
Why can't reality be shown as it is?
I write what I know and I see.
Will denying reality make
us better human beings?
Ishar Singh's language maybe filthy,
the context maybe heinous,
but the story shows that
despite his beastly nature
Ishar Singh is not bereft
of humanity.
And nor is the writer
Saadat Hasan Manto lacking humanity.
Instead of understanding this,
putting me on trial is a joke.
The French novelist Gustave Flaubert
for his Madame Bovary,
and Ireland's James Joyce for his
Ulysses, faced similar charges.
My stories are the mirrors for
society to see itself.
If someone has a problem
with what they see,
how am I to blame?
Neem leaves are bitter
but they purify the blood.
That's all I have to say.
You've wasted our time.
Your speech is enough
to sentence you.
The accused may rise.
Hearing all the arguments,
I concede that this story deserves
to be called literature.
But it is against the moral standards
of this country.
Obscene literature ought
to be called obscene.
So, under Section 292
of the Pakistan Penal Code,
Saadat Hasan Manto,
Naseer Anwar
and Arif Abdul Mateen,
are fined 300 rupees each,
failing which, they will serve
three months of imprisonment.
I don't want to die in jail.
I don't want to die in jail.
I don't...
What happened?
I don't want to die in jail.
You must have had a nightmare.
You managed to pay the fine.
We will appeal.
Don't worry.
This house, given by Hamid,
Mr. Chaudhary's loan...
Living off of the few well-wishers.
I can't take it anymore.
I am sorry.
I am sorry.
I am sorry.
I'm sorry, my little angels.
Are you all right?
Tell Jamal Hussain that he owes me
for the last column as well.
Okay. I'll be right back.
He says he doesn't have
the money now.
He'll pay next week
for both the columns.
Jamal Hussain!
Now what?
-Please sit down.
-No, thank you.
-Go. I'll call you.
Better if we talk about money
in front of everyone.
I've already explained
everything to your friend. Ask him.
Give me my column back.
-There's no reason to get mad.
-Give it back now.
As you wish.
Who has it?
Where's the doctor's prescription?
Put them back.
Label the other cans.
How can you stack them
without labels?
Shaad Amritsari said Mr. Yunus
wanted to see me.
Yes, I'm glad you came.
Please sit.
I'll just check with him.
I haven't written a
script in three years.
But the times have sharpened my pen.
Please come this way.
Mr. Yunus is busy right now.
I've been trying to reach you for days.
I was going to write to Mr. Shyam.
-Yes. Didn't Shaad tell you?
Mr. Shyam keeps sending telegrams.
Please give 500 rupees
from my payment to Manto.
Just tell him "Hiptulla."
May I keep them?
Yes. What would I do with them?
God be with you.
Pak Tea House should sell liquor.
Sir, why do people drink so much?
Some drink to endure pain.
And others,
to silence their conscience.
-But it doesn't seem to work for you.
At least it keeps my body warm.
"Neem leaves are bitter
but they purify the blood."
Alcohol smells bitter,
but it keeps the body warm!
Bravo, Mr. Manto!
I think he's here.
How much longer did you want her
to wait for the medicines?
What if something would've
happened to Nighi?
Get up, uncle.
Come on.
-Take me to the hospital.
Take me to the hospital.
-I want to go to the hospital.
I'll stop drinking.
I'll stop drinking.
-My top?
-Where is it? It was right here.
-You took it,
-Girls, don't fight.
Uncle, hurry up.
The bus will be here soon.
Can't I hug them one last time?
Your bitter breath will soon go away.
I know you want to get better.
At least for your daughters' sake.
For you.
Most of all for you.
Shall we?
Bus number four is arriving.
Then came three guests
two sulked, one wasn't pleased.
The one that wasn't pleased
got three kisses.
One here, one there,
-and another...
Stop right there.
Bloody fraud!
Now who will I "Hiptullify" with?
Let's go.
The doctor is calling you.
What is Pakistan?
It's a place in India
where razors are made.
Oopad di gudgud di annexe di bedhyan
moong di dal di laalten.
If we are in India...
then where is Pakistan?
And if we're in Pakistan,
then how is it possible
that we were in India
just a while ago?
Do you know where Toba Tek Singh is?
Neither in Pakistan nor in India.
Because I haven't ordered it.
Then please do.
Look, they've come to get us.
Oopad di Pakistan's and
India's government.
Oopad di gudgud di annexe di bedhyan...
Come, brother.
-No, no.
-Come on.
-I want to go to Toba Tek Singh.
-That's where we're going.
-We're going to Toba Tek Singh?
-Yes, let's go.
Toba Tek Singh.
His legs don't bend.
Two or three years after the Partition,
it occurred to the Pakistan
and Indian governments
to exchange their lunatics just as
they exchanged their criminals.
The Muslim ones in India,
were sent to Pakistan.
And the Hindu and Sikh lunatics
in Pakistan
were handed over to India.
-Is Toba Tek Singh here?
-It's in Pakistan.
Keep moving.
It's in Pakistan?
Keep moving!
Come on. Move it.
-Wait, where are you going?
Why are you back?
I told you to go to India. Go!
Toba Tek Singh is in India?
Or in Pakistan?
Toba Tek Singh is in India?
Or in Pakistan?
Oopad di gudgud di annexe di bedhyan
moong di dal!
Pakistan! India!
Go to hell!
The man who stood on his legs
for 15 years
now lay on the ground.
There, behind the barbed wire was India.
Here, behind the barbed
wire was Pakistan.
In between, on a piece of land,
with no name...
lay Toba Tek Singh.
Oopad di gudgud di annexe di
bedhyan di moong di dal
of the Pakistan and India and...