Friday, 31 December 2010

Supermen of Malegaon

Directed by Faiza Ahmad Khan
India 2008

Everyone knows Hollywood, most of people even heard of Bollywood. But does anyone heard of Mollywood? I hadn’t either until I saw this film. “Supermen of Malegaon” is a documentary that chronicles the life of a handful of cinema enthusiasts who make their own films — quirky, low budget, socially aware spoofs of other films. It started with remakes of popular Bollywood movies,and they were a huge were a success - the locals literally eat these films up, as life in a small textile town on the outskirts of Mumbai provides little other entertainment. Now when their ambition grows, those self-trained filmmakers are ready to take on Hollywood and Superman.

The parody of Superman is directed by Nasir, a shopkeeper with an unlimited passion for cinema, who learned his trade shooting wedding videos. Nasir’s hero is played by Shaikh Shafique, a skinny factory worker who looks like anything but Superman. Seeing him we know “Superman” will be very different then original US version, he would be “a victim of many diseases” and “suffer asthma from flying through polluted skies”.

The witty and life-affirming documentary “Supermen of Malegaon” is about dreamers with more ambition than talent or resources. Sometimes we laugh at their amateurish efforts. At times we are amazed by their ingenuity. Everything they do has this energetic DIY charm. Shooting their film doesn't come without adversities: the only camera drops into a river, Shafique needs days off for his wedding and a local paper’s coverage repeatedly refers to the production as “Spiderman”. They don’t have money or resources. But as they say: “we don't have facilities but we are still making movies”. The production process still rests on improvisation but they have extreme enthusiasm for film and this is an attitude that many film makers should learn from them instead of waiting for funds and do nothing.

(short fragment of the movie)

The people in Malegaon are poor labourers. Working at a cotton looms is an underpaying job involving serious health risks. The appeal of the spoofs, which are shown in local “mini theatres”, owes much to the incorporation of local idioms and the escape they offer audiences from the monotony of long-hours shifts in local factories. To see how important part of their life is watching movies is also very refreshing. It all about the joy that the simple act of making and watching a film brings into lives.

“Supermen of Malegaon” is clearly the most amusing film about making another film you’re ever likely to watch. And it has a kick-ass theme song!!! It stays in your head for days :)


  1. O my God!Do you remember "Hydrozagadka"? :D
    Maybe every nation has own Superman?...


  2. That is really good comparison!! :D

    I recently recommended it when I was asked about best Polish movies:)) its absolutely great!

    I just wonder if it works in different language... without really good translation all charm of it could be lost