His beloved Bom­bay

On Manto’s death an­niver­sary, a se­ries of drama­tised read­ings bring to light his lesser-known sto­ries

Mid Day - - The Guide - SNIGDHA HASAN [email protected]

MAIN chalta phirta Bam­bai hoon,” de­clared Saa­dat Hasan Manto in one of his many sto­ries that me­an­dered through the by­lanes of a city he lived in for only 12 years, but which con­tin­ued to re­side in his heart long after. This Fri­day marks his 64th death an­niver­sary, and to cel­e­brate the iconic writer and his love for the city, Manto ki Bam­bai, a se­ries of drama­tised read­ings of his lesser-known works will be pre­sented at mul­ti­ple venues. The four-day event has been con­cep­tu­alised by Jameel Gul­rays, founder of Katha Kathan, an ini­tia­tive that aims to bring peo­ple closer to In­dian lan­guages through lit­er­a­ture.

“Manto con­tin­ues to re­main rel­e­vant to­day. Just con­sider these lines he wrote decades ago, ‘Yeh mat kaho ki ek lakh Hindu mare hain, ya ek lakh musalman. Yeh kaho ki do lakh in­saan mare hain’ [It’s not one lakh Hin­dus, or Mus­lims who have died. Call it the death of two lakh hu­man be­ings],” says Gul­rays, who, along with his team will present nine of Manto’s works, where he presents a pic­ture of the city’s glam­orous world and its un­der­belly.

While Sa­hay is a story that hints at why Manto chose to go to Pak­istan de­spite be­ing pained at hav­ing to leave Bom­bay, Khushiya is a hard-hit­ting work about the ego of a man. Then there is Dr Shi­rod­kar, which is the story of a re­puted Bom­bay gy­nae­col­o­gist and what tran­spires when a pa­tient from Sho­la­pur ar­rives at his hos­pi­tal.

“We have also in­cluded light-hearted sketches and sto­ries by Manto such as Sone ki An­goothi and Tasveer. And you will crack up lis­ten­ing to them,” in­forms Gul­rays. “Manto could truly make peo­ple laugh.”

ON Jan­uary 16, 3 pm to 5 pm, Mum­bai Press Club, Fort; Jan­uary 17, 11 am to 1 pm, Sathaye Col­lege, Vile Parle East; Jan­uary 18, 6 pm to 8 pm, St An­drew’s Cen­tre for Phi­los­o­phy & Per­form­ing Arts, Ban­dra West; Jan­uary 20, 4 pm to 6 pm, first floor, ad­ja­cent to Ab­hi­nay Katta, Thane West. RSVP 9870090807

A re­hearsal in progress

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