Manto is based on the four most tumultuous years (1946-1950) in the life of Saadat Hasan Manto, the maverick writer. It is set during the Independence of India from the British, leading to the Partition of the country.
As sectarian violence engulfs India, Manto is compelled to make the difficult choice of leaving his beloved Bombay for the newly born Pakistan, he finds himself bereft of friends, unable to get his writings published and burdened by trials for alleged obscene writing. His increasing alcoholism and anguish take a toll on his family and lead him on a downward spiral.
Through all of this, Manto continues to write prolifically, his works mirroring the harsh realities of the time. In the film, facts and fiction overlap, blurring the lines between his works and the film’s main narrative. Without his stories, the story of his life would be incomplete.
Manto is a story of two emerging nations, two faltering cities, and one man trying to make sense of it all.