Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who plays the late Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto in the film, offered to do it just for Re1 largely for 'Manto' and little bit for Nandita.
To this Nandita Das says, “This is the character that an actor would give an arm and leg for. But to not charge even a nominal fee is very gracious of Nawaz.”
Apart from him, there are many eminent actors who agreed to do small roles purely to support the film. Celebrities like Rishi Kapoor, Gurdas Maan and Javed Akhtar did not charge a single penny for Nandita Das’s film Manto.
Nandita Das also mentioned that Rishi Kapoor and Gurdas Mann said yes to it on the very first day of th meeting regarding the film Manto. “I also reached out to many whom I knew well and have used up all my goodwill to get a stellar cast that truly does justice to the characters in the film," she said.
While many have done cameo roles, they all bring their talent and credibility to the characters. Actor Paresh Rawal had worked with her in "Firaaq" and now in "Manto"
"Politically, we may have differing views, but there is a mutual respect as an artiste and I am truly grateful he did the role to perfection," she said.
Talking about veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar, she said: "I have known Javed Saab even before I did 'Fire'. And I have always felt that he would be perfect in front of the camera.
"I thought it would be quite interesting to have a progressive writer of today defending 'Manto'. You will see him in a new avatar. So not like Javed saab."
"Trust me, there is more to life than money! The compensation comes in the form of experience and the joy of working on interesting projects. I, too, have done many such projects and have never looked for 'monetary compensation'," said Nandita.
Celebrities like Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta, Purab Kohli, Rajshri Deshpande and Swanand Kirkire also worked for free for the film.