This movie had instantly called out to me because the book had made a huge impression many years ago when I was going through a Stephen King phase and consuming as many of his novels as I could. It is a story of resilience where a woman had to rescue herself from a dangerous situation of metaphorical and emotional bondage as well as the physical and sexual kind.
Manto’s writings reflected both his own context and more. His stories dealt with eternal issues like love, deceit, pain, friendship and materialism. They also dealt with the specificity of national liberation movements, partition and the class-caste-religion matrix influencing human relationships in the particular context of South Asia.
Lawrence may have given Elena a world and a voice. But it was she who chose to delve into the unknown world of sexuality. It was she who chose to see the beauty and the richness of pleasure within communities of sex workers, soldiers, the elite, all alike. She alone chose to discern as well as reconcile love, as we commonly seem to know it, with a life in which she is capable of many loves.