Creating a fictional biography is not an easy task. However, writer-filmmaker Akhilesh Jaiswal overcame a lot of challenges to make a film on the life of legendary Hindi porn writer, 'Mastram'. With no concrete research material in hand, he had to rely on individual accounts and his cast to bring his vision on screen. Excerpts from an interview:
Q. From where did you get the idea of making 'Mastram'?
A. The idea for 'Mastram' has been with me since my school days. We did not have so much exposure to media in those days. Internet did not exist for a common man. Entertainment options were quite limited. I started reading 'Mastram' around that time, and I must say I was quite fascinated by the man and his writings. Years later, post 'Gangs of Wasseypur', I revisited 'Mastram' with an intention to make a film. That set the ball rolling.
Q. How did you research into the life of the original 'Mastram'?
A. The hunt for 'Mastram' took me on a whirlwind tour of the country. I visited Bhopal, Delhi and other cities up North. I was crestfallen when we could not dig out information on the real 'Mastram'. But I was sure that I wanted to make this film. We first approached small old-time printers and publishers. It was a wild-goose chase as many of these enterprises were now defunct. Moreover, none of the books gave a clue about the real man. One thing was sure, many people tried to copy the original 'Mastram'. The older readers told us that 'Mastram'’s novels were quite artistic as compared to the copycats who penned down trash. That was the biggest difference between him and the others; we have tried to highlight this in the film as well. The more the real 'Mastram' remained elusive, the stronger was my resolve to make the film on him.
Akhilesh Jaiswal, 'Mastram' director
Q. What kind of challenges did you face while making the film? Was it tough to convince the producers?
A. People laughed when they heard about the idea I was proposing to the producers. "Nahin chalegi...Kuch aur lekar aao" were common quips. Later, I met Ajay Rai and things started moving a bit. Finally, we roped in Sunil Bohra and 'Mastram' saw the light of the day.
Q. Do you feel that Indian audiences are ready for films like 'Mastram'?
A. Yes, I strongly feel that the audiences are ready for the film. The response the trailers are getting on YouTube is phenomenal. The curiosity is visible across all media channels. Even the so-called snooty publications are doing stories on 'Mastram' and the film. The buzzword is there for all to see.
Q. Did you find the casting of the film difficult as the film deals with a bold subject?
A. I was very clear about what kind of actors were needed to portray the characters. They had to look the parts they were playing. Moreover, I needed actors who would who would pick up the nuances in a jiffy. Soon, things started falling in place.
Q. How much of visually erotic content can we expect in the film?
A. How much is enough? Erotica is a subjective term and differs from individual to individual. I can surely say that 'Mastram' the writer did not disappoint us in the good ol’ days. I can vouch that my film won’t disappoint the modern audience as far as the erotic content is concerned. It’s packed with the right amount of erotica to set the temperatures soaring.
(As told to Nilesh Rao)
BANNER: Bohra Bros Pvt. Ltd, Jar Pictures
PRODUCER: Ajay G Rai, Sanjeev Singh Pal
DIRECTOR: Akhilesh Jaiswal
STARCAST: Rahul Bagga, Kapil Dubey, Tara-Alisha Berry
MUSIC: Yo Yo Honey Singh
RELEASE DATE: May 9, 2014
Watch out for: 'Mastram' is the story of legendary Hindi porn writer, Mastram whose real identity remains a mystery till date. Akhilesh Jaiswal, who wrote the crime drama, Gangs of Wasseypur, has directed the project. This is his debut film. The makers are promising an entertaining take on sex, society and creativity with this film.
IN A SHOT: With the promos and posters generating great curiosity, Mastram is expected to take off well.