Rasika Dugal and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in ‘Manto’. Image Credit: Supplied

Indian actress-filmmaker Nandita Das lamented the fact that her film ‘Manto’ will not release in Pakistan.

“Disappointed that ‘Manto’ will not be seen in theatres in Pakistan. I was keen as he belongs to both countries equally,” Das tweeted on Saturday.

‘Manto’ traced the life Saadat Hasan Manto, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the Indian-born Pakistani writer.

The film followed the most tumultuous years of Manto’s life. It also starred Rasika Dugal as Manto’s wife along with Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rishi Kapoor and Divya Dutta in key roles.

Das also shared link of an article that she penned for a news website explaining why the film won’t be crossing borders.

“I just got the news that ‘Manto’ was not passed by their Censor Board. The reasons cited are that ‘the film has anti-Partition narrative theme and explicit scenes, which is against the norms of Pakistani society’,” she wrote.

Das knows that she won’t get an opportunity to present her case to the Pakistani Censor Board.

“In the last six years that I have been working on ‘Manto’, not only his family but many others in Pakistan have been waiting anxiously to see it on the big screen. So while this explanation is in defence of freedom, it is also for them,” she added.

Manto, who died in 1955 at the age of 43, penned an impressive body of work touching various genres.

He released about 22 collections of stories comprising a novel, essays, personal sketches and movie scripts. Out of his literary gems was a story on Mirza Ghalib, a poet often compared to William Shakespeare. His work also gained attention for weaving stories around the ordeal of partition.

‘Manto’, co-produced by HP Studios, Filmstoc and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, was the only Indian film in the Un Certain Regard category at 71st Cannes Film Festival. The film released in India in September.

“‘Manto’ had to fight for his freedom of expression 70 years ago and many of us are having to do the same today,” said the actress, who garnered critical acclaim with films such as ‘Earth’ and ‘Bawandar’.