Malegaon ka Superman was released a decade ago.
The film had no special effects, glamorous sets, superstars, smart gadgetry, mind blowing stunts or any filmmaking aesthetics. The movie was never part of Hindi cinema’s prolific industry, nor did it ever desire to be, and yet, eminent directors like Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap were spotted in the front row, thoroughly enjoying the special screening in 2011.
The movie, made on a shoe-string budget by Nasir Shaikh, is a desi version of Hollywood’s Superman. The superhero’s mission is to save Malegaon, Maharashtra’s textile hub, from a tobacco-loving villain.
In a cruel twist of fate, Shafique Shaikh, who played the lead, was addicted to tobacco and succumbed to mouth cancer six hours after the film screening. He was merely 25-years-old and is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
Shafique Shaikh, Superman of Malegaon
“Malegaon is a special place and Shafiq was a special person. He was in a bad shape, he just kept staring at us, he had an oxygen tube, couldn’t talk,” Kashyap told Mid-Day in 2011.
“An ardent fan of Amitabh Bachchan and Bollywood action movies, Shafique watched the film on a stretcher. Although he was unable to speak, he was thrilled to see over 2,000 people thoroughly enjoying his performance and frequently bursting out in laughter. We were glad to fulfil his dying wish, and I am sure he is flying high, wherever he is,” Nasir tells The Better India.
While Nasir was making the film, documentary filmmaker Faiza Ahmed Khan was shooting the crew behind the scenes. Titled ‘Supermen of Malegaon’, the fascinating one-hour homage follows a bunch of amateur filmmakers (who have full-time jobs by the day) capturing the true essence of the small city, which is about 300 kilometres north of Mumbai.