<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Faiza Ahmad Khan. Starring Shakeel Bharati, Farogh Jafri, Nazir Shaikh, Shafique.
So I went for this film reluctantly and with no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. Apart from being effortlessly funny it is an enlightening documentary on how an inspired group of villagers make their own movie. Necessity is truly the mother of invention here and I haven’t laughed so much at a film in ages. The audience clapped, whistled and cheered throughout. A movie that proves the old axiom: Never judge a book by its cover.
The documentary by Faiza Khan is about this band of rag tags from the village of Malegaon who love movies and get their ‘inspiration’ from old greats like Sholay and Superman (the Christopher Reeve one). They proceed to make parodies of the films set in their hometown to bring in that local flavour. And then they screen the films in their own makeshift ‘cinema halls’ complete with red carpet for the filmmakers and stars.
I initially thought that this was the ‘film’ and not a documentary about the films but you’ll quickly realise that this ‘making-of’ is far superior in terms of insights, nuggets of wisdom, pearls of wit and oodles of charm than the ultimate well-meaning output that is nevertheless an achievement for these guys who use a bicycle as a trolley and a bullock cart for crane shots.
What’s hilarious about Supermen of Malegaon is what we may see as being a silly way to make a movie. Right from the Handycam to the pyjama Superman outfit and being mounted on rusty metal spikes to simulate flying against a green cloth (chroma screen) attached to a truck, this is all real for them but for you and me it will seem almost slapstick.
Apart from loads of laugh-out-loud moments, Supermen of Malegaon explores the motives of these simple men and women and their love of films, their dreams of stardom and coming to Bombay to achieve something. Little do they realise they have already done so in their own little world that’s far bigger than the the one you and I inhabit.
Since it’s a documentary there are few shows playing in theatres sadly – even though there are no new Hollywood releases this week and only one Hindi release – but do seek it out and watch it with an audience. The experience is quite invigorating.