For actress Rasika Dugal, the way Nandita Das's upcoming film "MANTO" landed in her lap, was too good to be true.
Rasika was cast as Safia MANTO in the film, which is on the life of late writer Saadat Hasan MANTO, for various reasons. The most important was the similarity in looks, which is why the actress didn't need any kind of prosthetic for the film.
On being cast in the Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer and how it felt when she received a call from Nandita, Rasika said in a statement: "I met Nandita for the first time when I had performed in a Cineplay (an initiative) and then when she had come to watch my film 'QISSA'.
"She was very appreciative of my performance in both and said she was writing a film on MANTO and had me in mind for a part. I didn't know which part then but was very excited about getting an opportunity to work with her and excited about a film on MANTO since I was an avid reader of his work.
"She said she was putting the film together and would get in touch when she was ready to cast."
For some months thereafter, Rasika didn't hear from Nandita.
"I was tempted to write to her in the months that went by to check about that but didn't want to disturb her. Finally I got a mail from her almost a year later (by which time I had thought that she had probably cast someone else) saying she wanted to meet.
"I thought there would be a long process of auditions and readings that would follow before she decides on the cast. But at the meeting, Nandita said she wanted me to play Safia MANTO and gave me a script to read. It was too good to be true. I think I did a little dance on my way out from her house that day."
"MANTO" will release on September 21.