Shafique Shaikh died of cancer last year. A power-loom worker, he had played small roles in Malegaon Ke Sholay (2000) and other small-budget films before he was offered the lead role in Shaikh Nasir’s Malegaon Ka Superman (2008), a title that became his monicker.
And now his last wish — to popularise his and his village’s story around the world — has finally been fulfilled. A documentary, titled Supermen of Malegaon, directed by Faiza Ahmad Khan will highlight the little wonder that Malegaon’s unique film industry is.
The hour-long film revolves around a motley bunch of cinema fanatics who re-make Bollywood and Hollywood movies on miniscule budgets, shooting and starring in them and screening them for the local audience. It will release in India on June 29.
“It is a tribute to a spirit that can never be vanquished and enables the supermen of Malegaon to make films,” says Faiza. She adds, “It’s a pity Shafique isn’t alive to see this day. He would have been the happiest. However, he did attend the premiere of his film in Malegaon a day before he passed away.”
Remembering her meeting with Shafique, Faiza says, “When I met him, he was a power-loom worker. Since Malegaon had eight-hour power cuts during the day, the lad worked night shifts and came late on the first day of his film’s shoot. It was the first time he was playing the lead.”
The director says that Shafique had quit his job and started a DVD player repairing shop. A year and half later, he died.
Ask Faiza if he knew the documentary was being shot, and she replies, “We lived in Malegaon for three months while they were making Malegaon Ka Superman. He was part of the process and has seen the final cut.”
While Shafique was alive, the cast and crew had also travelled by air for the first time to Osian Film Festival in Delhi and IFFI, Goa.