Archive for February 14, 2014


This one’s taken some coming (no pun intended). The first look of ‘Mastram’, based on the life of the mythical writer of Hindi erotica from the 90s, surfaced a few weeks before the 15th Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) last year, where it was an official entry. However, the first trailer has only arrived today.

Those who follow this blog closely will immediately recognise Akhilesh Jaiswal as one of the writers of ‘Gangs as Wasseypur’; while that’s a strong film to have on your resume, it remains to be seen how well he’s managed to adapt this particular story — given how often “bold” themes in our cinema warp into juvenilia —  for the screen. The official Facebook page for ‘Mastram’ has been posting quite of bit of promotional material since the beginning of January: mostly posters that range from cheesy to raunchy.

The trailer itself, which was released earlier today, doesn’t say much about the film, except for putting together a mishmash of various steamy scenes and the angst of a writer. Nonetheless, a friend who watched the film at MAMI last year enjoyed the movie and believes it does well in bringing to light the sheer hypocrisy that oils the wheels of our society.

Here’s the trailer of the film, followed by the synopsis:

Rajaram, a bank clerk in a small town, dreams of traveling to Delhi and becoming a reputed writer. No one takes his aspirations seriously, least of all his uncle, who marries him off to the beautiful Renu. Although a simpleton, Renu wholeheartedly supports her husband’s ambition. Edged on by her encouragement, Rajaram starts stealing writing time from his humdrum work routine, and is eventually forced to leave his job. But being a stay-at-home writer doesn’t go down too well with prying neighbours. Rajaram becomes a butt of all jokes in the neighbourhood.

Turning a deaf ear to the all the snubs, Rajaram starts in earnest to show his work to several publishers. Each time he is rebuked. Finally, Rajaram encounters a fledgling publisher duo – Purohit and his brother-in-law, Bharti. They agree to publish Rajaram’s story about the plight of a small town girl. However, there is one hitch. Rajaram would have to add some necessary sensational elements to his dull tale – some `masala’, as they refer to euphemistically. Rajaram is initially miffed by this writing brief. He is not sure what it means to bring that to his writing – till he meets Chacha, an eccentric, old village Idiot. He introduces Rajaram to the salacious and secret world of soft pornography. It’s on everybody’s mind, but no one will admit it. Chacha does.

Rajaram, scandalized at first, accedes to the “compromise”, and thus starts discovering another facet of literature – erotica. He adopts the colorful pseudonym of `Mastram’ becomes the first author of the first pornographic novel series in Hindi. He churns out colourful stories about sex that his eager readers voraciously devour. Yet, Rajaram’s success still remains elusive to him, as all the glory is due to `Mastram’. Will the “real” Mastram finally be exposed? Will Rajaram’s sudden windfall arouse suspicion in his ever-supportive wife? How will Rajaram face the hypocrisy of a society that secretly enjoys reading porn, but otherwise treats such matters with disdain?

Cast & Crew

Starring Rahul Bagga, Tara Alisha Berry, Akash Dahiya

Produced By Ajay G Rai, Sanjeev Singh Pal
Director : Akhilesh Jaiswal
Casting : Mukesh Chhabra
Costume Designer : Subodh Srivastava
Music : Manan Bharadwaj
Background Music : Saurabh Kalsi
Digital Partner : One Digital Entertainment
Editor : Apurva Motiwale Ashish Mhatre
Production Designer : Dhananjoy Mondal
Director Of Photography : Gavemic Ary
Writer : Akhilesh Jaiswal Gunjan Saxena
Lab : Prime Focus
Co Producer : The Film Label &Ashoke Pandit

– For those who wish to read more, click here and here to read interviews with Akhilesh Jaiswal in which he talks about the real Mastram; the process of researching the film; and then some.

— Posted by @diaporesis