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Looking forward to see Nandita’s version of Manto: Hansal Mehta

Hansal MehtaDirector Hansal Mehta, whose project on noted writer Sadat Hasan Manto could not take off, is looking forward to see how Nandita Das has approached the author’s life.

Mehta had started working on the script with actor Rajkummar Rao but the director could not find producers for the movie and eventually moved on to “Aligarh”.

Das’ version features Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manto and focuses on his years in Mumbai.

“Both Nandita Das and I were working on the ‘Manto’ script at the same time. She had called me saying she is also making a film on ‘Manto’. I told her to go ahead and do it. I told her that I would make something else. I was anyways not getting producers for it,” Mehta told PTI.

“Immediately after ‘Shahid’, I was going to make ‘Manto’ with Rajkummar (Rao). We had done a photo shoot with him. But it did not happen as we were not able to find producers….The scale, the budget at that time was not feasible,” he added.

When asked if he was disheartened that the project could not become a reality, the director said, “I see it philosophically, as whatever happens just happens. Nandita was destined to make ‘Manto’ and I was destined to make ‘Aligarh’.”

Mehta said he was interested in seeing his colleague’s perspective on the celebrated writer, one of the most prominent literary voices of the 20.

“She is a good story-teller. I am looking forward to see her version of ‘Manto’,” he added.

Currently, the director is awaiting the release of “Omerta”, which chronicles the life of British terrorist of Pakistani-descent Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Rao is playing a titular role in “Omerta”.

“I want people to hate him. The film has to provoke certain reaction, be it happiness or sadness. This film makes you angry. It also gives you an adrenaline rush, I wanted to make a film in thriller space.

“Here is a thriller where the hero is a complete antagonist. It was a challenge for both me and Raj, it is a new thing in our filmography,” said Mehta, who has collaborated with Rao on multiple films.

“Omerta” is set to release on April 20.

Mehta is planning to team up with Rao again in their next project.

“I am at the moment focusing on my next directorial venture. We are working on the script with Raj. It is being written. We will start in the middle of the year somewhere,” he said.

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