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Moved by smut

Most teenagers would have encountered Mastram at the railway station through the smutty pages of erotica talking about the neighbourhood bhabhi or aunty in colourful language. Now debutant Akhilesh Jaiswal is bringing the writer alive on screen through a fictional biography. Jaiswal, who co-wrote Gangs of Wasseypur , says he tried to figure out who the real Mastram was but could not get any exact answer. “What I did notice was that the quality of language has come down over the years. Earlier it was more literary but over a period of time it became more direct and pornographic. The sellers also suggest that Mastram is not one person. It is a pseudonym for a number of pen pushers who wanted their share of lucre through soft porn. That sowed the seeds for a compelling story.”

So Jaiswal weaved the story around a clerk, who wants to become a writer but nobody takes him seriously in the literary world. The publishers want masala and his dull life doesn’t have any spicy details. Circumstances introduce him to the seamier side of life which people don’t like to talk about in public. He brings them to paper under a pseudonym and becomes popular. “But the problem is nobody knows who the real Mastram is.”

Starring Rahul Bagga in the lead role, the film is set in Manali.

The posters of the film are generating a lot of interest but Jaiswal says he knows where to draw the line. “I have not made it to titillate. It is an entertaining film, which will appeal to different sections of the audience.”

On the charge that the new generation of writers is more interested in Mastram than Premchand, Akhilesh says a lot has been written about Premchand.

“A number of films have been made on his stories. I wanted to explore a writer whom many of us read during the growing up years and then forget,” says Jaiswal, who hails from Bhopal.

Out to Raid

There is hardly any market for Indonesian films in India but when The Raid: Redemption hit the screens a couple of years back it surprised many with its choreography of visceral action sequences and unbridled violence. It was hailed as one of the best action movies and was critically accepted across quarters.

It was not something that made a market in the pirated video category. It found acceptance on the theatre circuit. It shattered box office records in India and garnered a cult fan following. Thrilled by the response, the makers are bringing the sequel The Raid 2 to theatres in May. It will see Indonesian actor, martial art expert Iko Uwais reprising his role as Rama.

The movie is directed by Gareth Evans who was also at the helm of the first instalment. Known for its breathtaking action sequences across the world, the second instalment will see the story moving forward from where the first film ends. It continues with Rama going undercover and infiltrating the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate to protect his family and to uncover the corruption in his own police force.

Speaking on the release of the movie, Amit Jethani, Director, MVP India says, “The first instalment won the hearts of people in an unexpected way and received a tremendous reception. There is a huge audience here that appreciates high octane action scenes and quality stunt sequences.”

Busy calendar

These days there is a Yash Raj Film after every couple of months. Recently, the studio announced its slate for the rest of the year.

Leading the way is Mardaani in August, Rani Mukherji’s comeback vehicle directed by Pradeep Sarkar. Both the actor and director need a hit. Rani is playing an astute cop in the film which is being described as raw and gritty.

September will see Daawat-e-Ishq , Habib Faisal’s romance between a Hyderabadi shoe-sale girl and a Lucknawi cook played by Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapoor.

Then there is Kill Dill in November. Described as the game of defiance and deception, it has Ranveer Singh and Ali Zafar playing two killers, who get some direction when Disha played by Parineeti comes into their life.

The film marks the return of director Shaad Ali and in a first, Govinda is playing the villain of the piece in a Yash Raj film.

In between, the banner will be distributing Farah Khan’s Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Happy New Year this Diwali.

Shatrughan Sinha will be bestowed with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Indian cinema’ honour at IIFA this year.

In a career spanning over four decades, Sinha is known for his histrionics and passionate dialogue delivery that is unique and original.

Starting his career with negative roles, this Film and Television Institute of India graduate went on to become one of the most popular leading men of Bollywood in the ’70s and ’80s with films like Kalicharan, Kaala Patthar and Dostana to his credit.

Popularly known as Shotgun, his punchlines have become fodder for many stand-up artistes.

“The honour not only humbles me, but makes me feel loved by a country where cinema is the ultimate equalizer of the masses,” says Sinha.

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