Thiruvananthapuram: We don’t celebrate our artists, our writers, our musicians. There are more films about underworld dons than there are about artists, acclaimed actor-director Nandita Das said at the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala.

Nandita Das, the first Indian to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame of the International Women’s Forum in Washington DC, opined her film, ‘Manto’, which screened on December 8th and has further screenings in the fest under the Indian Cinema Now package, doesn’t fall into brackets. She discussed the challenges she faced while filming it, including how distributors and exhibitors decide what the masses want, whereas she feels that there is no need for the “classes-masses separation”.

 ‘Manto’ is the taleof the life of Indo-Pakistani Urdu writer and playwright Saadat Hasan Manto. She said she feels a lot of “Manto-yath” or Manto-ness, as, like how the writerwas asked why he wrote about sexual workers than about the freedom strugglethat was going on, she also had to face challenges, as often her films weretermed as tailor-made for festivals. She expressed her joy, as the filmreceived appreciation from the common public, after it was viewed by themthrough various means.

On feminism, she opined that the fight should never be against men, but against patriarchy. She expressed her solidarity for all the strong pillars who have fought and continue to struggle against the misogyny and the prejudice.

Nandita Das’s debut directorial, ‘Firaaq’ had won awards at several international festivals including the IFFK.

By Manoj

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