A young boy (Jay) and a girl (Vedika) happen to meet in the tourist town of Goa. They spend some time together and realise that they are perfect for each other. However life has other plans... See full summary »
Surprisingly a subtle yet worth watching, fictional depiction of 80s mysterious sex publications and their unknown writer.
To begin with, for the ones in search of all those bold porn scenes, shown in its Youtube videos and more, the film is going to be a big disappointment as the director here is not actually interested in providing that mental masturbation to his viewers, going against all expectations. But for the others, more interested in seeing how the director tries to depict a fictional biography of an unknown controversial personality, this is sure going to be an appealing watch, though might not be a hugely satisfying one, portraying the story in a subtle, controlled manner focusing on the writer alone.
Actually MASTRAM begins with a young educated man aspiring to become a writer and then it progresses as a simple, realistic biography revolving around his initial hardships and struggle in its first 30 minutes. So there is no sexual stuff in these opening reels until, Rajaram (its lead character) forcefully starts writing porn stories to keep his kitchen running. And later too the film focuses more on the writer's mental conflict & his relationships only instead of the expected erotic stuff served repeatedly. Therefore a large proportion of the viewers are bound to feel cheated as the film gives them nothing more than already seen in its bold You Tube trailers promoted well.
In fact the only sexual scenes coming in this 98 minutes movie are the ones when Rajaram starts writing a new story thinking about the fictional characters inspired from his real life acquaintances. And this is only the key feature of movie, brilliantly portraying the fact that every writer takes his basic inspiration from the existing people only in his immediate surroundings and then goes on assigning new roles to them as per his own imagination. In other words, whether it is the respected literature including poetry, novels & stories or the porn stuff including such vulgar texts, the inspiration remains the actual life only flowing around the writer in its various forms.
Moreover, the final insightful moments of the film further reveal that it all depends upon the unlimited capabilities of a human mind only that in what manner he wishes to use his creative imaginations in the end. Because it factually remains the same curvy body of a beautiful girl which is rhythmically compared to the Taj Mahal by one writer and interpreted in a lusty, sensual manner by the other with the mind visualizing the beauty in two different ways.
Hence if you see the film with a viewpoint of studying the person behind those best-selling sex books in the 80s, then it does turns out to be a worthy watch. But if you are just interested in watching some spicy sequences moving a step ahead than its online promos then its certainly going to be a below average film serving nothing as per the promises made.
Also, MASTRAM can easily be explained as a film caught within two distinctive perceptions of its producer/publicity designer and the director. Because where at one end the publicity material of the film suggests it to be one of the boldest films ever, there the film is actually a simple effort to depict a writer's creative struggle and his cracking relationships due to the hidden job under taken. As a result, the end-product keeps standing in the mid-way and the viewer misses the bold content, being promoted all over the net in the last two months through an undoubtedly well designed publicity campaign, for sure.
Coming to the music department, Honey Singh's Gujarati track "Achko Machko" comes at a perfect timing and the song indeed sounds great while watching the film. But I was disappointed not finding the other promoted Punjabi track "Baba Ve" in the film, which ironically is a famous double meaning song of Punjab from the early 80s. Background music supports the on screen sequences well and cinematography gracefully keeps the movie in the category of erotica only, avoiding stepping on to the obvious offensive path of a cheap comedy. Having a perfectly recommended cast by Mukesh Chhabra, it has a fine lead performance played by Rahul Bagga. Still the film actually scores more through its enjoyable supportive acts from a talented cast ensemble including the debutant Tara Alisha.
As a director Akhilesh successfully gives the film a realistic small- town feel, with all lively characters. But yes, he could have given Rajaram a better depth, making him more mysterious as well as expressive providing some additional entertaining moments and a more colourful feel to the project. Because at present his character does seem to be quite dull for a non-existing, exciting porn writer.
To end it on a positive note, MASTRAM is surely an effort to be applauded due to three basic reasons.
One, for making an original Hindi film based on a fictional biography which has been rarely tried in Indian Cinema.
Two, for not going the cheap GRAND MASTI way (disgracing the female actors), whereas that was the most easy and fruitful path to be followed resulting in much bigger returns.
And Three, for some extremely well designed series of posters with a delightful display of creativity using no images at all but just silhouette figures of pen, a nib and a girl.
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