Hello everyone, recently one of the authors from this amazing blog (self PR you can call it) offered me an opportunity to attend a premiere of a documentary. I was not sure if I should grab this opportunity thinking that it is just a documentary, but then the title of the documentary fascinated me so much that it made me go and watch it (another reason why I thought several times before going for this documentary was because what followed next was this review ? ). But trust me guys (without exaggerating it) I do not regret my decision to go ahead and watch it, as the documentary touched my heart and soul and I could so connect with it. What is so great about this 64 minutes documentary is what I am going to tell in this post (I don’t call this a review because I don’t consider myself qualified enough to write a review.)
Supermen of Malegaon is an extraordinary documentary, (and when I use the word EXTRAORDINARY, I quite literally mean it) releasing this Friday, that is, 29th of June, 2012, almost four years after it was made. Before we get into what is shown in the movie let me just tell you a little about this place called Malegaon. Around three hundred kilometers outside of Mumbai in Maharashtra is the small industrial town of Malegaon. For a long time Malegaon has been driven by its power loom industry and is also known for its unique film industry, Mollywood, which makes small-budget spoofs of Bollywood hits. A few years ago one man, Sheikh Nasir who had already made spoofs of films like Sholay and Shaan, decided to make a spoof of a very famous Hollywood movie, and he narrowed upon Superman. As for the title of the film, oh!well he just named it as as Malegaon ka Superman.
Faiza Ahmad Khan heard about the ‘cinema fanatics’ from the town of Malegaon, and decided to make a film on them. Her film which is most appropriately titled ‘Supermen of Malegaon’ concentrates on the situations and complications that haunt Nasir continuously when he is the process of making this film, Malegaon ka Superman. The film is also an attempt to try and understand the dynamics of film industry in Malegaon and about the people associated with same.
Most of us are in love with cinema, but I have personally never come across such crazy and passionate people who make movies facing many hardships everyday without expecting any materialistic returns except the appreciation or satisfaction for themselves.. It’s funny sometimes but it really gets heartbreaking as well. This was a strong take away for me after watching the movie. Quite personally I have always hated spoofs but after watching this particular documentary I couldn’t help appreciating the makers of the film. There was a time when I was tempted to point fingers and laugh, but the film did not allow me to. I would rather be proud of these people than have pity on them, they are passionate, ambitious, talented artists. I want to give a special credit to Malegaon Ka Superman’s villain Akram, for his multi talented nature. He not only acts in the movie, but he is the man behind the editing, music and the dubbing as well. The music by Sneha Khanwalkar and Hitesh Sonik is great. In fact Sneha Khanwalkar and the editor, Shweta Venkat have recently even worked for the recently released movie Gangs of Wasseypur.
Shafique Shaikh, the male lead of the movie ‘Malegaon ka Superman’ died of throat cancer last September but he will always be remembered for his role. The reason why I say this is only because when you watch this documentary what will hold you in its captivity is the depiction of each and every small emotion of the actors and the makers of the movie. The way Shafique fights with all the shortcomings because he is passionate about acting and proud of himself is commendable. Also the way the makers and the other cast take care of him time and again brings tears into my eyes. Shafique desired to do any Amitabh Bachchanji kind of role at least once in his life and that was what he considered the greatest thing in his life, something that surprises me in this materialistic world.
These people in Malegaon are happy doing balancing their livelihood and passion in the best way possible. Most of them don’t have any craze of moving to Mumbai and trying their luck in Bollywood. This can be best seen in the way Nasir himself says that he will never go on to Bollywood and work as he just cannot work for any other filmmaker. And as one of the writers of the film mentions that he’s been trying to move to Mumbai for the last 15 years but somehow now feels that the distance between Malegaon and Mumbai has only kept increasing, ever so more. The film also touches upon the social/cultural angle in its own unique way. Take for example the fact that Nasir doesn’t want his own brother to follow his footsteps and get into films as he feels he should rather do something more substantial in life. Also one gets to see that the film industry there being Muslim dominated is quite conservative and does not allow their women to work in films. Even for Malegaon Ka Superman they get a lady from Dhulia to act in the film.
These Bollywood spoofs that Nasir makes are the only source of entertainment for the residents of Malegaon. 12 hour power cuts are something these residents face on a daily basis. It is amazing to know that these funny movies are made using a simple camcorder and with minimum equipments or a proper set but still they are so entertaining. Since Nasir knows that he is working under a very tight budget there is a lot of improvisation that he brings in. Like for example when during a visit to Mumbai he finds out that the software to enable Chroma Keying is too expensive. Nasir tells himself that for the price of 2 lakhs that was quoted he can go ahead and shoot 4 films instead. But he doesn’t give up and instead tries it on his own with the help of his trusted lieutenant, Akram Khan. The dubbing, editing, background score, one really funny song (title song) are all worth appreciating. The honesty the makers show towards their work is very difficult to believe.
The documentary is going to leave a smile on your face, especially amateur film makers and cinema students who can relate with these cinema fanatics of Malegaon. It is warm, engaging and will compell you to follow the journey of these passionate film makers and a tribute to all of those out there who have real passion to put across their thoughts with the help of cinema, ignoring all the hardships they face on their way.