Supermen of Malegaon

Supermen of Malegaon

Cast:: Shafique, Sheikh Nasir, Akram Khan

Director: Faiza Ahmad Khan

Indian Express Ratings:****

Rarely have I seen such a joyous celebration of the madness cinema is. The locus is Malegaon, a small town a few hundred kilometres off Mumbai. The latter is the home of the big budget multi-starrers that keep us in thrall; the former a town which produces lickety-spit rip-offs of major movies. A few residents of Malegon recognise the fact that movies are magic; they also prove that to recreate that magic what you need primarily is imagination . If you have that, and a will, and inventiveness, you can get superman to fly. See, see, there he goes. Here's delightful proof that a flight of fancy is no prisoner to big bucks. All you need is imagination. Faiza Ahmad Khan's hour-long documentary tracks these supermen, whose determination to make movies harks back to those pioneers who must have done these things exactly like director Sheikh and leading man Shafique do, a hundred years ago.

At one level, we watch this film unit and its unique struggles to make 'Malegoan Ka Superman' : the director comes up with such a wonderful solution to the very expensive chroma screen that he can't afford, that you fall in love with his enthusiasm. As well as his crew ( the word 'motley' comes to mind) who match him in resourcefulness and cheer and sheer good will. Khan's camera is a friendly fly on the wall, capturing the making of the film, which has travelled around the world for the past four years gathering accolades at film festivals, in a spirit that is inclusive and incisive.

At another, it is the story of contemporary India. The story of a small town whose communal make-up is apparent, without it being rubbed in. The cast and crew is mostly Muslim, mostly not well-off, mostly from amongst those who work with their hands. Malegaon's Superman ( Shafiue) a thin, scrawny fellow whose ability to soar in the skies is never in any doubt despite all the technical and financial glitches he faces, comes from a family of weavers. His day job is to work at his family loom : in his spare time, he wears the cape and the 'chaddi' and prepare to rescue his girl, and save the universe.

... contd.

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