dailypeghamBollywood actor-turned-director Nandita Das has roped in Nawazuddin Siddiqui to play Manto in her upcoming Indo-French co-production.

Earlier, Irrfan Khan was believed to be playing the part. “I have had Nawazuddin in mind from the very outset,” said Nandita on the sidelines of the 69th Cannes Film Festival, reports DNA.

Irrfan Khan to play Manto in Nandita Das’ film?

“But in India, economics always interferes with art and there was pressure on me to cast a more mainstream star,” she added. “But I absolutely need the kind of nuances and depth that only Nawazuddin can deliver.”

Nandita Das soon to direct film on Manto

Manto, which will be based on the life of the controversial Urdu writer, is currently under production. “We have to recreate Mumbai and Lahore of the 1950s and that demands a certain budget,” said Nandita.

The controversial Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. PHOTO: FILE

“It’s not a cradle-to-grave biopic but a drama celebrating the life and work of a writer who was a natural rebel, a man who went against the tide without being a conscious activist.

“The film will cover a period of seven years between 1946 and 1952, which was an important phase in the history of the subcontinent,” she said.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look from ‘Raees’ revealed

Nandita is hopeful her film will impress the audience. “Manto is an intimate retelling of the times, seen through the eyes of this intensely engaged writer. I am certain it will resonate with audiences around the world.”

Nawazuddin, who was applauded at Cannes for his performance in Raman Raghav 2.0, has already done costume tests for the lead role.

Nawazuddin in Raman Raghav 2.0 that received a standing ovation at Cannes. PHOTO: INDIATODAY

The shoot is slated to begin by the end of this year.