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Mantostaan: Movie Review

Release Date: May 5, 2017
Cast: Raghuvir Yadav, Veerender Saxena, Sonal Sehgal, Shoib Shah, Raina Bassnet, Rahat Kazmi
Director: Rahat Kazmi
Genre: Drama, History
Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes

Mantostaan takes you into the world of Saadat Hasan Manto, the prolific Indo-Pakistani writer, playwright and author, who is considered as one of the greatest writers of short stories in South Asian history. Manto’s stories have always been off the beaten track, are often twisted, say more than what can be interpreted and provide food for thought. Mantostaan is an adaptation of four such stories, all of which reflect the hardships and suffering of people at the time of partition. Some of these will hit you hard and you might be left to wonder why humans have to undergo such seemingly insurmountable pain and misery.

All four stories run in parallel, so you may have to watch the movie keenly. As the four stories roll out, they provide you different perspectives to the lives of the characters and the times that were at the time of partition. All the stories are twisted, so there’s much anticipation, as to what will happen next. The climax of each of these stories carries even more wattage and each one comes with its own message about human existence. On the one hand, there’s riots, rapes, retribution and heartbreak, and on the other there’s courage, resilience and compassion, which together reflect the various aspects of humanity. The four stories also send the message that situations are often too strong for people to resist, which forces them to change, both as a person and in their actions.

There’s not much star power in Mantostaan, but that’s intentional since it allows the audience to focus on the stories. It also helps reduce over dramatization of things, as has often been the case with earlier movies made around the theme of partition.

Mantostaan will allow you to dwell in the extraordinary and gain new perspectives to human life. It’s like a book that you can’t put down, so go for it. 

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