Talk about cross border love.
Nandita Das has been actively trying to fight for her film Manto's release in Pakistan, but the local censor board has called her film "anti-Partition" and "against norms of Pakistani society" and banned its release in the country.
However, some are pushing a nationalistic narrative around the ban by creating an Indian Manto vs Pakistani Manto divide. To which Das took to Facebook and shared:
"The last thing we want to do to Manto and his legacy is to make it India vs Pakistan or Indian Manto vs Pakistani Manto or Sarmad Khoosat Official vs Nawazuddin Siddiqui. In fact I feel there should be many Mantos. More the merrier!"
The Indian director also posted a throwback with Sarmad and Sania Saeed, both of who were cast in the Pakistani version of Manto, and added, "I am very happy that two films, featuring different times in his life have come to us. I am sure, so is Sarmad. We both have had the pleasure of sharing our respective perspectives and experiences of making Manto, both in Delhi and Lahore, in 2015 and 2016, before I even shot my film. So let’s not trivialise the conversation. Manto can be by all and for all."
Irrespective of people's opinions, Khoosat himself responded to Das and wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely NOT! much love for u @nanditadas and @Nawazuddin_S... unfortunately I’ll have to watch it on Netflix and I must admit I am equally nervous and excited. Sarhad say azaad hai yeh pyar. Manto Zindabad.
Let's hope that ends the tug of war between "Pakistani Manto and Indian Manto."