Director: Faiza Ahmad Khan
Cast: Sheikh Nasir, Shaikh Shafique
Malegaon is a town just around 290 kms from the Bollywood capital, Mumbai. Like any other Indian city, it has its share of cinema enthusiasts. But what makes the town unique is its very own micro moviemaking industry, christened as Mollywood.
A local videographer and a hardcore movie-buff, out of his sheer film fascination, attempts making small-budget spoof videos on Bollywood blockbusters like Sholay and Shaan. And when he finds a loyal audience in the locality frequenting his video parlour for these parodies, he plans to take the legacy forward with another spoof on the global superhero – Superman. Thereby Malegaon gets its own superhero with another takeoff titled ‘ Malegaon Ka Superman’. And ‘ Superman of Malegaon’ is a documentary film that encapsulates the making of ‘Malegaon Ka Superman’.
Making of movies are a common phenomena today, employed as additional feature on movie DVDs or promotional tools for movie-marketing. More often than not these making videos gain audience when the film’s a success. Ironically the documentary film ‘Superman of Malegaon’ comes even before its source film ‘Malegaon Ka Superman’ is released (or will ever be released). At the outset, one would wonder then that how would it interest anybody who’s oblivious of a video-parlour film called Malegaon Ka Superman.
But a few minutes into the documentary and you realize that the entire thought behind capturing the making of the film makes for a more entertaining watch than the final film would possibly have. Malegaon Ka Superman is like one of those project films that one makes on campus or over outings and the kinds where the viewer doesn’t really bother about budget or production values. But at their level, the makers of Malegaon Ka Superman are ambitious enough to incorporate special effects, stunts, songs and also a script in their cinema. And in their aspirations, the making of the movie gets its meat.
So the documentary captures the dream that starts in the eye of Sheikh Nasir, the local videographer who defines his Superman as an asthma patient and a filth-lover who wishes to see every Indian spit all over the place. Much as inane as it sounds, the film has a dry sense of humour and it doesn’t end up being an unintentionally funny escapade (like most tacky B-graders) but is consciously designed as a spoof. For its title lead, Nasir chooses a frail unassuming village-boy, Shaikh Shafique who would be the last person one would imagine of as Superman. But Shafique’s distinctiveness makes him the perfect candidate for the satire.
Unlike most movie-making footage, this one isn’t merely a mechanical effort but also attempts to touch upon human elements like the hardships faced by the makers through the process of putting together the film. So when Nasir can’t afford the chroma setup and software for special effects, he uses a green screen over a truck to achieve similar results to good output. The orthodox villagers won’t allow women to work in films and so Nasir has to source the female lead from a nearby village. Shafique’s marriage momentarily interrupts the movie schedule, the camera conks-off in between and more such difficulties arise but their spirit remains undeterred.
And despite highlighting their hardships and the underlining pathos, the documentary at no time becomes sad, soggy or sensational. Rather it has a very optimistic outlook and exudes positive vibes. The best part of the film is that the makers have the ability and audacity to laugh on themselves. The joke is not at the expense of Shaikh Shafique for he is clearly aware that his individuality is inciting the humour.
Superman of Malegaon is the celebration of the inherent fantasy of any average human being who dreams of being either a star or a star-maker, irrespective of their eligibility. And at a broader level, it’s a tribute to the undying spirit with which you can make your dreams come true.
Verdict: GoodFaiza Ahmad Khan Gaurav Malani Reviews Shaikh Shafique Sheikh Nasir Superman of Malegaon Times of India