Rasika Dugal is currently gearing up for the release of her upcoming film, Manto. Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the titular role and written and directed by Nandita Das, the film delves into the life of one of the most well known and talked about short story writers from the subcontinent, Saadat Hasan Manto. His writings were an honest reflection of the society. He wrote about women, about sex workers and about the partition with great sensitivity and humanity. Rasika plays the role of Safia Manto, Manto’s wife who was his rock and stood by him through the most tumultuous times of his life.
Rasika who has used no prosthetic for her role in the film has an uncanny resemblance to the author’s wife and has been told the same by Manto’s daughters as well, who all live in Lahore. They have been extremely involved in the entire process of this film. Recently, Rasika turned host for Nuzhat Arshad and Nusrat Jalal, two of Manto’s daughters who flew down to Mumbai from Lahore on the Qissa actress’ request and both Rasika and Nandita showed them around the city which their parents loved so dearly!
When asked about how she spent time with the two, Rasika said, “It is so nice to finally get to meet the family. Nandita’s efforts have finally brought them here. It gives me great joy to show them around Bombay – the city that their parents loved. We went to Prithvi theatre yesterday and all of us including Nawaz met for dinner later. So many stories were shared about Manto and Safia. Even though it is the first time we met, I felt I have known them for very long. Their response to the film would mean a lot to me. I look forward to that.” When asked about what her esteemed guests did upon landing in the city, Rasika said, “Nandita planned a walk for them around the town area to visit the places that their parents used to visit often. Nusrat Apa and her spouse Shahid Saab wanted to visit Prithvi theatre so I took them there. Later in the evening Nandita, Nawaz and I had dinner with the family where Saeed Saab (a friend of the Manto family and of Nandita) read out a most beautiful fiction piece he had written about Nandita meeting Manto. Many stories were exchanged and there were many laughs. It felt like we have known each other for a while even though it’s the first time we had met.”
Manto which is slated to release on 21st September 2018 has already garnered a lot of interest in festivals across the world. Rasika will also be seen in Hamid an upcoming film by Sa Re Ga Ma’s Yoodlee Films and in the much awaited Excel Entertainment series, Mirzapur, along with her upcoming show, Delhi Police, based on the Nirbhaya case.