Nawazuddin Siddiqui offered to play Manto for "Re 1 largely for Manto and a little bit for Nandita Das."
"This is the character that an actor would give an arm and a leg for but to not charge even a nominal fee is very gracious of Nawaz," said Nandita in a statement.
Times of India reports that Nawazuddin is not the only one who refused to charge for his role in Das' upcoming film, Manto. Actors Rishi Kapoor, Gurdas Maan and Javed Akhtar did their parts free of charge.
"While many have done cameo roles, they all bring their talent and credibility to the characters."
According to Nandita, "Rishi Kapoor and Gurdas Maan said yes in our first meeting. I also reached out to many whom I knew well and have used up my goodwill to get a stellar cast that truly does justice to the characters in the film."
About having Javed Akhtar onboard, she said, "I have known Javed saab even before I did Fire. And I have always felt that he would be perfect in front of the camera... I thought it would be quite interesting to have a progressive writer of today defending Manto. You will see him in a new avatar. So not like Javed saab."
Cast members Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta, Purab Kohli, Rajshri Deshpande and Swanand Kirkire also worked for free for the film.
"Trust me, there is more to life than money! The compensation comes in the form of experience and the joy of working on interesting projects. I, too, have done many such projects and have never looked for 'monetary compensation'," shared Das.