This is not a book review. It is just a reading of the book after which I am now going to express what I felt about this book. I do not think I should be reviewing work of Sir Manto. He was himself a generation of writers. And if I attempt to review his work it would be certainly be a shameful thing on my part. …
Been a literature student reading introduction to an author is very common practice for me. From Chaucer to Eliot to kalidas, I have read introduction to all authors And with great confidence I can say that this book had the best introduction to an author by far. It is indeed beautiful in its own way that translated have described Manto’s life, Bombay and Bombay stories so well. Just reading the introduction makes one read this book so much more.
An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi.
An irony of reading this book was that in background I was over-hearing some news that Manto’s play “Matorma” and “Kaun ha ye Gustakh” were been cancelled in New Delhi
All the stories are based in Mumbai. Most of them revolves around prostitution and movie industry. Stories are crisp and short and delivers the message in much elegant manner. Among all my favorite were ‘Mammad Bhai’ and ‘Rude’. Manto’s Bombay stories were mostly written in Pakistan, where he lived his last years.
This is not the first work of translation that I have read. Before this I’ve also read English version of Toba Tek Singh and Shakuntalam among many others, but with sense of respect towards translators Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad I say that none of the other work has been so mesmerizing. If this book had not been a translation and just a book of short-stories by translators, my respect for the writing would have stood same, if not higher. The language is flawless, and is an absolute pleasure to read. No questions that the stories add to make it much more pleasurable.
I would travel anywhere with Manto. In every lane, he points out the errors of God. In every bazaar, he kicks away the gold coins of men. He can hear colour in betrayal and street argument, and can smell disease in the bloodstream. As long as there is a Lahore, a Bombay, a Toba Tek Singh, a Wagah- Manto will be alive. He is magnificently immortal
Apart from stories, this section of book has a three letters like essays written in first person by Sir Manto. These letters can surely be read with great interests. Among these three, ‘Why I Don’t Go to the Movies’ and ‘Women and the Film World’ are my favorite. They are written with rare honesty and give the readers a joyous end to a beautiful book.
You do not have to be a book worm or a student of literature to read this book. This one is actually meant for anyone who is looking forward to be a progressive human. (Reminds me of the section where sir Manto talks about Progressive literature and humans.) This book is a sheer delight to read and I must recommend this book to everyone.
P.S. Time to go back to read this book again. I feel intoxicated reading Manto.
About: Aditya Bhasin hails from India, Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an ambivert person and is happy that way.
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