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    Heading to Cannes, Sonal Sehgal talks about her Brazilian film and why Indian Muay Thai rocks

    WITH her latest movie being screened at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, a Brazilian movie in her kitty and as the brand ambassador of Indian Muay Thai Federation 2016, Sonal Sehgal has her hands full. Coming back to Bollywood after a four year break, the 34-year-old actress is starring in Mantostaan, the Hindi feature directed by Rahat Kazmi. Based on four short stories by celebrated author Saadat Hasan Manto – Khol Do, Thanda Gosht, Aakhri Salute and Assignment – the film is at Cannes under the category Le Marché du Film. Sehgal plays Kalwant Kaur in a chilling story (Thanda Gosht) about the communal violence post partition in 1947. “Last year, Rahat sir called me and said he was planning a feature on Manto’s stories, and I have always been a huge fan of Manto, I just completely grabbed the opportunity,” begins Sehgal, who was last seen in the rather forgettable Future Toh Bright Hai Ji in 2012.
    Character sketch
    “All Manto’s women characters are very strong-willed, they are not like props, and you rarely see these characters in Hindi cinema,” shares the actress who assisted director Pradeep Sarkar in Parineeta in 2005. She also wrote a short film, ‘Others’ (2013), and says it was easy to relate to the subject of Partition. “My grandparents, maternal and paternal are from Pakistan, and came here at the time of partition. I have heard so many stories while growing up,” explains the former television star. Confident that the sensitive topic will not ignite controversies, she says, “One thing that runs across Manto’s story is that the people never wanted partition, it was always the politicians. People would love to see his stories, they are very heart warming.”
    Cannes and more
    While at Cannes, Sehgal plans to walk the red carpet in exclusive creations by renowned Delhi-based designers, Gaurav Gupta, Gauri Nainika and Siddartha Tytler. The Mumbai-based actress picks Café Society by Woody Allen and Mohammad Diab’s Clash as her ‘must-watch’ at the festival. Being the brand ambassador for Indian Muay Thai Federation 2016, for the women’s team, she says that while the sport is being promoted in schools, it still needs to be brought into the limelight. Presently writing a script, the actress will also be seen in a Brazilian film, Flows, by Lucia Barata, where she plays a girl who finds her roots in India.
    Mantostaan will be screened at Cannes Film Festival on May 14.

    — Saloni Sinha


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