BOLLYWOOD: Director Ketan Mehta has made a short film based on Sadat Hasan Manto’s story Toba Tek Singh, and he’s got veteran actor Pankaj Kapur to play the iconic character of Bishen Singh.
Talking about the project, Mehta says, “It’s an hour-long film, and we shot it in 10 days. Budgets were non-existent and we were filming for virtually 24 hours a day. When I thought of Bishen Singh’s character, I could only think of Pankaj Kapur. With his long beard, he looks like a mad man in the film.”
But no matter how tough the shoot may have been, Pankaj Kapur’s thrilled to have been a part of it. “Based on what I’ve read so far, there is no bigger story about the partition than Toba Tek Singh. The story has been close to my heart for years, and when Ketan came to me with the idea of making a film on it, I had to be a part of it,” says Pankaj Kapur.
The story is based on post-partition when the Indian and Pakistani governments decided to exchange some Muslim, Sikh and Hindu lunatics. It focuses on Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an asylum in Lahore and a native of the town of Toba Tek Singh. Bishan is sent with police escorts to India, but when he’s told that his hometown lies in Pakistan, he refuses to leave.
Mehta has also introduced Sadat Hasan Manto himself as one of the characters in the story, and that character is played by Vinay Pathak. The film will soon be released on a digital platform.