The Supermen of Malegaon

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As Michael Caine might say, not many people know that Maharashtra has a second thriving movie industry less than 200 miles from the glitz and glamour of Mumbai. It’s set in the declining Muslim-majority city of Malegaon and the typical budget for a movie is $1500 – yes, you read that right – $1500!

The movie men of Malegaon have no time for fancy equipment like electronic video mixers, 360 dollies or fancy stuff such as artist agencies, they’re just as likely to use a bicycle, a borrowed camera and the local samosa seller to tell their tales. “We don’t have fancy equipment like trolleys, so we mount our camera on a bicycle instead,” says Shaikh Nasir, director, “A bullock cart functions as a crane. A handycam is our camera. But our films have heart.”

A surprise hit at both the Osian Film Festival and IFFI, Mallywood movies are finally beginning to gain some recognition. “These are immensely popular films, at least in the areas they are released in,” said Bhupendra Kainthola of IFFI, “They may be low-budget, and may be not technically as polished, but they are nevertheless a part of our film culture.”

Usually the movies re-tell standard Bollywood plots with local actors who are clearly having a whale of a time and who bring innocence and charm to every scene. Malegaon ka Supermen, for example, has a reed-like Superman defending his village from evil villains and a Korean documentary on the making of the movie has proved a surprise festival hit.

You can see a trailer for the movie here – you’ll finally believe a man can fly:

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