Akhilesh Jaiswal has embarked on a filmmaking journey with "Mastram", a fictional biography of the well-known Hindi erotica writer. The director, who has tried to strike the right balance with adult content and aesthetics, hopes the censor clears his directorial debut with A-certificate without any cuts.
"I am hoping that there won't be any sort of problems with the censor board. And, hopefully, the film will get an A-certificate without any cuts," Jaiswal told IANS in an email interview.
Popular in the northern part of the country for his erotic novels, the author hid behind his pen name Mastram and his real identity is still a mystery.
Asked whether the film would have a mystery element to it, he said: "For that you will have to wait till May 1 (when the film releases)," adding: "My film is a fictional account of the writer's life. Even I am curious to know who the real brain behind the book is, or the real face behind the author, as you put it."
Reasonably familiar with Mastram's work, Jaiswal who has "read a lot of" his original books, says his prime concern was that the film's content should not leave a bad taste in the viewers' mouths.
"I was clear from the writing stage itself how I want the film to look. Things can easily go wrong if you don't have your thoughts clear and in place," said the director who hails from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
"Yes, it's a fictional biography. It is very important to find the right balance and maintain it, because pornography should not look overused in the film. It should not look as if it is put just for the sake of it. It should fit in properly, as a part of the story telling."
"If you go through the statistics, you will find that the answer is yes," he said when asked "Does sex sell at the box office?"
He however added: "I think the film should be good and entertaining at the same time, for it to work at the box office."
Starring Rahul Bagga, who was seen in TV show "Powder" in a pivotal role as the mythical porn writer "Mastram", shot in and around Manali for a period of a month, has been in the news ever since it was announced and Jaiswal is confident about his cinematic offering finding a right connect with the audience. Tasha Berry also features in the movie.
"The highlight of the film would be that everyone will be able to relate to the characters in the film. Though it's a fictional story, it's set in the real world and the characters are relatable," he said.
Talking about the cast, which doesn't boast big names, he said that his film stars some of the finest actors from NSD (National School of Drama) and other theatre groups.
"We were making a film in a limited budget. My producers and I believed that the film could make its mark without any big stars in it. So we didn't go that route," he said, but didn't reveal the budget or release plans.
Jaiswal, who co-scripted crime saga "Gangs Of Wasseypur", chose "Mastram" as the subject for his debut film because of the curiosity surrounding the author and his personality.
"The thought of knowing the life of a person, who is so famous all across the North, crossed my mind a lot of times. Despite being so famous, no one has ever seen him or met him," he said.
"I always used to think what does the author feel and how does he react to this popularity? Was he proud of the fact that he is such a good creator of erotica or was he ashamed of the fact that he writes erotica and therefore does not want to come out in public as Mastram? These thoughts and curiosity to know about him became the base of "Mastram", the film," he added.