#KaliSalwaar is a 2002 film based on the writings of Saadat Hasan Manto, marks Filmmaker Fareeda’s directorial debut. Consciously doing away with Manto’s romanticized image of being drunk and depressed and creating legendary stories of the partition, Fareeda set about creating Manto’s world through his characters using a contemporary setting to let audiences relate to issues like displacement and marginalization which are very valid even today. Manto has been used as a character in the film as he flits in and out of the frame interacting with his characters.
About the film, Fareeda says, “Manto’s short story Kali Salwaar ends on a note of silence. Then, for some time, the two women had to be silent. The entire story resonated with this silence. And it seemed that this would lend itself to a cinematic exploration. Then the transformation of a short story into a feature-length cinematic work. The short story form pares down detail to a minimum — to a clear lyrical flow. In scripting perhaps the reverse of this happened. Taking the bare outlines of the story I fleshed it out with concerns coincident or parallel to the events described in the short story. I brought it into a more contemporary canvas. I drew on other works of Manto. I also dialogued with filmmaking and filmmakers who have stayed with me through the years.”