Rahat Kazmi, best known for his hard-hitting films on issues that make a difference, is back with his next, Mantostaan, the film that has begun its global journey with the Cannes World Premiere on May14.
Mantostaan is based on writer Sadat Haasan Manto’s short stories that seek their inspiration from the flames of the Indo-Pak partition. Rahat has through the camera lens, chronicled the chaos that prevailed, during and after the Partition of India in 1947, and brought to life on celluloid Manto’s most controversial works including Khol Do, Thanda Gosht, besides Aakhri Salute and Assignment in Mantostaan. Actors Raghubir Yadav, Sonal Sehgal, Shoib Nikash Shah, Tariq Khan, Virendra Saxena, Raina Bassnet and Rahat Kazmi star in the film in lead roles. The film is produced by Rahat Kazmi, Tariq Khan and Aaditya Pratap Singh and co-produced by Zeba Sajid. Associate producer Javid Banday. Creative Producer: Bhanu Pratap Singh.
At Cannes, Mantostaan was lauded by world audiences with a standing ovation at both screenings. Middle Eastern filmmaker Aya Al Blouchi is vocal in her appreciation. “Mantostaan was very daring, as compared to Bollywood films. From the rape scenes to the sex scenes to the culling scenes, it is not what you get to watch in mainstream Bollywood. What director Rahat Kazmi chose to film was really mind blowing. I think films should show the reality of society and not hide it. The reality of the story, the connectivity, the four different characters and how they connected somehow was very exciting. The other thing is that we did not see over the top sets, over the top acting. I think I could meet these people every day.”
British actress Canelle Hope admits, she was speechless after the film. “This haunting feature will stay inside me and the world forever,” she says. “Mantostaan was one challenging film for director Rahat Kazmi and the entire cast and crew. One shot that still haunts most is when Ishar Singh, essayed by young Shoib Nikash Shah, speaks after his throat is slit. The raspy and raucous voice choked me and I felt myself actually feel his life slide softly and slowly draining out of him.”
Spanish actress Meritxell Ortega Balancici says words cannot express her feelings as she walks out of the theatre. “I need my silence now,” she says simply. “You should watch the film.”
Avers French TV and Video Producer Maria Kinga Zielinska, “I was very very emotional, and crying at the end of the film. It was so touching. And it has been a long time since a film has evoked such response from me. The women were also so well-portrayed. I simply loved Mantostaan.”
French film critic Alex Deleon says, “It is beautifully filmed and tells a significant story. The fresh cast and the fresh tackling of the subject made a huge difference.”
Renowned choreographer Sandip Soparrkar expresses, “What an amazing film… No wonder it is getting rave reviews from international press.. Super work by Rahat, Sonal Sehgal, Shoaib Nikash Shah, Tariq Khan, Raina Bassnet… each artiste is class apart.” French actor Jacques Roybin smiles, “this was one premiere where Sandip Soparrkar and I did not mind fighting for the premiere passes!”
Opines Anuj Radia, film critic, Desi Blitz, UK, “Mantostaan is a gripping tale of survival. It is one of the finest independent South Asian films of hyperlink cinema. From the power-packed performances to the excellent direction, the film touched me.”
Adds UK-based radio presenter and producer Mob Hassan, “Mantostaan is gripping from start to end. I am glad, someone is finally making a film on Manto’s timeless works.”
With phenomenal media response and rave reviews, Mantostaan has successfully managed to earn its rightful place in hearts of global audiences. Says Rahat Kazmi, “The Indo-Pak partition has resulted in the largest mass migration in human history. We felt that global audiences will identify with the impact of the pain of the riots which resulted in this retributive genocide between religions.”