First things first, this film is a documentary. So read on, if that kind of cinema interests you. Secondly, it embodies the making of a film titled ‘Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman’, which was made in the year 2008. You do not need to watch ‘Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman’ to understand ‘Supermen Of Malegaon’. The latter is an independent story in itself.
The film, one-hour-long, is about Malegaon, a small town tucked away in northwest Maharashtra. The town has been divided into two sides – one where the Hindus stay and the other where the Muslims reside. It has been troubled by continuous communal tension as well as a large part of the population is immersed in poverty.
Hence, to escape this harsh reality, the people of Malegaon have a sole source of entertainment, cinema that they have cleverly coined the term ‘Mollywood’. The film focuses on the various video parlours that run around the town and provide the natives a chance to catch a glimpse of the glitz and glamour of Bollywood, inspiring them to go for 100-rupees-worth Shah Rukh Khan-like-haircuts and 151-rupees-worth Sanjay Dutt-like-hairstyles. Filmmakers in Malegaon do not aspire to be strugglers in the Hindi film industry. Instead, they want to make their own films and entertain their town folk. These people are not aware about the number of people it takes to make a film. For them, one man conceptualizes, writes, directs, edits, finances as well as does make-up for the film. They harbour their dreams of creating films by making spoofs of existing films. For example, ‘Sholay’ becomes ‘Malegaon Ke Sholay’, ‘Shaan’ becomes ‘Malegaon Ke Shaan’, etc.
However, one such filmmaker Nazir Shaikh collaborates with his team of writers (Akram Khan, Farogh Jafri and Shakeel Bharati) to make a superhero film. According to Nazir, Batman is no great shakes, and Superman is the real deal. They want to make their protagonist fly, with the use of ‘karoma’ (chroma) on a shoe-string budget of Rs.50,000, arranged from taking loans, product placement (Yes, and that too of a local dairy ‘Lalle Milk Centre’). Their Superman is a feeble man named Shafique (unfortunately, he passed away last year), who despite his limitations, aspired to become Amitabh Bachchan. The film is about how these people come together to make film, in which their leading hero can fly! Their dream is to make ‘Yeh Hai Malegaon Ka Superman’, a film that they can truly be proud of!
This film is about how they struggle to put this thing together, and on their course, face permission problems, financial, logistical and casting issues galore! A story wonderfully put together by the director Faiza Ahmad Khan. Add to that, the music by Sneha Khanwalkar and the immaculate editing of Shweta Venkat (both of whom have recently worked in ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’)! The film manages to capture special moments, which come together brilliantly in the narrative. Since the duration of the film barely runs to an hour, the turn of events engage you throughout. Technically, the film is flawless and does deserve all the accolades. Making-of films are not performance-based. However, a lot depends on the questions that are put forth to the interviewees in the documentary. Quite a few of them are dry-humoured and rhetoric, giving the entire documentary a fun element. Overall, the film is very well conceived, and Faiza has indeed been very fortunate having made a documentary on a film, that has received unprecedented popularity in recent times.
Many aspiring as well as current filmmakers will relate to the situations that the people of Malegaon go through, to make their movie. Certain moments are dramatic, some are guffaw-worthy, and a handful number of them are absolutely rip-roaring. Kudos to PVR’s Director’s Rare for supporting this film, it deserves all this recognition and well, a lot more!
If you’re a film-buff, don’t mind documentaries and want to have a good time, watch ‘Supermen Of Malegaon’! (First Posted in MSN)