Nahardih, Istiyak Khan, Akash Dhaiya
(Mumbai Film Festival – October 2013)
who fancies himself as a great writer and who desperately wants to become a
famous writer but ends up writing titillating stories with a pseudonym Mastram.
His stories find way to the wayside book vendors where his books are bought
discreetly by people spanning all age groups. Mastram is humourous but bundled
with the apathy of a writer that makes us laugh but also urges us to empathize
the dreams of Rajaram (Rahul Bagga). The film successfully portrays the
so-called conservative societies which has a taboo towards the word ‘sex’, but
actually relish sleaze. This film also funnily portrays the visionary in
Mastram who proclaims that one day this will be common. This is inspired by the
story of an anonymous author of popular pulp fiction and sex stories in Hindi
(known as Mastram), whose books were sold at railway station stalls and small
roadside and pavement shops in North India during 1980-90s. So, it is a kind of
movie begins with a scene in a hostel room where a few boys are reading a porn
book. Then the frame changes to the year 1989 (somewhere in Himachal Pradesh),
where a groom Rajaram Vaishnava aka Hans is going along with his uncle in
Baraat. He reluctantly expresses to his uncle that he is not keen to get
married since he wants to pursue his M. Phil in Hindi Literature from JNU,
Delhi. Uncle tries to convince him saying that his fiancée Renu (Tara Alisha
Berry) is beautiful, she would take care of him, also cook great food viz.
mutton for him. Ultimately Rajaram gets married to Renu. Though initially Rajaram
is hesitant to even look at Renu, but slowly they develop their bond. Renu
seems to be a simple lady and ‘sorted-out’ in life. She encourages Rajaram to
pursue his dream of being a writer. On the spur of a moment, Rajaram leaves his
job as a clerk in a bank and starts looking out for publishing agencies to get
his novel published. Ultimately he reaches Shivshankar Publications, but his
work is shunned by them and the reason given for rejection was that his work is
tries to decode the word ‘masala’ from his friend Mahesh, and other
acquaintances that what this ‘masala’ is all about and when he understands,
there starts his journey as a writer with pseudonym Mastram. He starts writing
erotic pornographic stories taking cues from his surroundings viz. Yauvan ki
pahli Baarish. Mastram books sell like hot cakes in the market.
sees success as Mastram but he is unable to even share his published books with
wife or friends due to the ‘taboo’ topic
he is handling and fearing society’s condemnation which
always wants others to be ‘virtuous’.
could convince his publisher to publish one of his ‘good’ work – Man ki
Vilochana which he thought he could share with his people.
Man ki Vilochana turn out to be a best seller? Does Mastram continue writing
porn-stories ? What happens when his wife and other friends / acquaintances
understand that Rajaram and Mastram are one person ?
Akhilesh Jaiswal deserves a great applause for projecting this unconventional
story of Mastram with much authenticity. Rahul Bagga shines as Rajaram aka
Mastram. His various facial expressions of shyness, passion, having a naughty
smile on his face (on understanding that his work is read by people),
vulnerability etc. are all done with utmost perfection. Tara Alisha as Renu is
also very good, she completely justifies her character. All supporting cast
have also done great work.
being captured beautifully without being analytical, preachy, biased,
right/wrong or dichotomous.