Supermen of Malegaon is a refreshing take at how the movie bug has crawled its way into the most unexpected and unassuming of the Indian lives and how it continues to influence and affect both the existence as well as the well being of different sections of the society. It is a wonderful example of how best to make an Indie Documentary and make it interesting enough for people to sit through it without drooling over. The healthy chunks of humor incorporated in the proceedings does not hurt the entertainment value either.
Malegaon is a sleepy town located about 300 Kms away from Mumbai. It has the looms which serves as the primary source of income and livelihood of the people. It was in the headlines owing to one of the sinister Bomb Blasts of the recent times and tensions ride high between the Hindus and the Muslims in a place divided by both communal disharmony as well as a sorry excuse of a river. A place where there is hardly any proper cinema Hall, movies should have been a far cry but what we see here is enough to leave us perplexed as a lone man, armed with only a digital camcorder and eyes full of dreams sets out to achieve the impossible, “making a spoof of Superman”
Shaikh Naseer, was highly influenced by popular Bollywood and Hollywood cinema. He owned a local video club where he would put on display popular movies. He cherished the memories of the days when he screened movies for the “aam junta” of Malegaon and received kudos for the first spoof that he made which was “Malegaon Ka Sholay”. Made at a shoe string budget of 50,000/- “Malegaon Ka Sholay”, became a huge success in Malegaon. This unprecedented success of his film made him dream bigger and gave him the strength to go head on with Hollywood this time around. He had learned about the Chroma Photography techniques from the making off features of many Hollywood movies and decided to incorporate the same in his movie to bring about some radical special effects.
“Supermen of Malegaon” takes us through the process of making of the teh film “Superman of Malegaon”, with Sheikh Naseer as our companion and guide all the way through. In the subsequent journey, we rush through a whole plethora of emotions which are reminiscent of our lives. There are scenes where we laugh at the caricature of Superman and then there are scenes which makes us teary eyed when the same actor shares his dreams of equaling Amitabh Bachchan.
“Supermen of Malegaon” is such a simplistic take on the life and times of the common men of Malegaon and their passion for cinema, that it is bound to strike a chord with the public. People will identify themselves with the real life characters and will find respite in the fact that after such arduous efforts, the cast and the crew are finally able to finish what they had dreamed off and are able to achieve more than they had expected for.
The various stages of the film making process are dealt with accurately. The director takes us through the improvisations that Sheikh Naseer does to make his film possible. be it using a bicycle for trolley or using a hand pulled cart for shooting the flying sequences of Superman, the realities beyond the production process are both hilarious as well as shockingly amateurish and yet in some way makes us emotional. There in lies the greatest strength of the documentary.
The documentary also has additional footage from the finished movie, “Superman of Malegaon”. So one who has gone through the whole production process gets to see the end result as well. Then there are the cast and crew involved who each have a dream of their own. There is a line said by one of the script writers which goes …”Mumbai is 300 Kms from here and I have been traveling towards it for the past 15 years but I have not arrived there yet”. This line symbolizes the very feel and the inner feeling of all those involved with the movie. Each character with dreams and aspirations but stuck somewhere between the staggering looms and the river that separates the two faces of Malegaon.
Supermen Of Malegaon is an endearing and heart warming tale of love, passion and victory at the face of insurmountable odds. It is a film about a film and the people who made it. It is one of those documentaries which cannot be missed at any cost. Watch it as soon as possible and busk in its glory.