Saturday, January 29, 2011

After Bollywood and Tollywood, it’s Maleewood

By Danish Reyaz,
Nasir Khan, the Godfather of Maleewood -- a film industry named after Malegaon in line with Bollywood and Tollywood (Telugu film industry) -- felt proud when he got an award from his own people. It was "Salaam Malegaon," the local "Film Fare Award Function" for actors associated with Maleewood. Among those who received the awards included Al-Ameen, the lead actor in Malegaon Ka Chintu, the TV serial shown every week on SAB TV.
“Although I have been awarded for film making in Delhi, Goa and elsewhere, but getting recognized in my own town is really unprecedented,” said Mr. Khan.

L-R: Sheikh Nasir with "Superman" of Malegaon Ka Superman
Ghulam Mohammad Zaidi, who was the first local film producer and director, was posthumously awarded with 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award.'
It was a memorable time, when Mr. Singhaniya and Gajni, the hero and the villain respectively, of “Malegaon ka Gajni,” were busy selling tickets of their movie. The film is running in a video parlor with 175 seats, since last 25 days with all the shows going houseful. The parlor with the screen of 16.9 inch comes to life at 10.45 pm at night, with claps and laughs of the audience, enjoying the remake of the super hit film Gajini. They were getting entertained by the parody of song, “Tu Meri Adhoori Pyas pyas…..on remake ….Mahangai ka satya nas nas…ek paisa nahi hai pas pas…koi Dhanda nahi hai Khas khas….hai ye sazish…..
“The villagers here are working hard for their livelihood in power looms and they definitely need to be entertained in the night. We are making films that whole families can watch together. Gajni has social message related to corruption, electricity and inflation along with the comedy,” said Shakil Bharti, the director of Malegaon ka Gajni.

Bharti further added that the residents of this textile city being predominantly Muslims hate porn films. “So this is our humble effort to bring smile on their faces.” Bharti started his professional journey in 1987 with theatre but at present owns a production house. His 18-year-old son, Shahid Akhtar, helps him in editing and shooting work.
“The ticket for the Bollywood and Hollywood movie comes generally at Rs. 10 but for Malegaon film, the villagers happily shell out extra Rs. 5,” informed Tarique Hussain, owner of the local video parlor.
Hussain referred Mukhtar Pahalwan. The 75-year-old bearded man who came from Aaisha Nagar to watch Malegaon ka Gajni said, “We get entertained by these kinds of films also because we know the shooting locations.”
History of Maleewood
It was around 11-12 years ago when Shaikh Nasir who along with his friends Akram Khan, Shakil Bharti, Faroge Jafri, Imteyaz Aadarsh and Rafeeque Jauni, started producing low budget films: “It all started in 2000 when we decided to make a remake of the evergreen blockbuster Sholay, with two of my friends who resembled Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra,” said Shaikh Nasir who took loan of Rs 50,000 and used whatever was available to make the movie because of limited resources and a tight budget.

"Gabbar" in Malegaon Ka Sholey
But when the film was released at video parlor, it was houseful continuously for three months and did the business worth Rs two lakhs.
Encouraged with the grand success of the Sholey, Mr. Nasir along with his group produced the remake of Ramesh Sippy's super hit film Shaan, as Malegaon Ki Shaan, which was a parody of the original, “We had better resources this time: in terms of picture quality and cinematography, it was much better than my first film,” added Nasir.
Nasir also made “Malegaon ka Superman,” a remake of Superman, the rights of which, Sunil Bora, a famous documentary maker, bought and subsequently screened at Los Angeles, Pakistan and Italy Film festivals. The extent of popularity of Maleewood can be understood by the fact that the British filmmaker, Paul Martin came to Malegaon and made a documentary on its remake film industry. He also proudly mentioned that Javed Akhtar and his filmmaker daughter Zoya Akhtar, were so impressed with Nasir’s works that “Zoya is at present making a documentary on my works in Maleewood.”
Nasir highlighted the growing recognition of Maleewood in the mainstream cinema, Bollywood as well as Hindi TV serials. For instance, it is the crew and actors from Maleewood who are acting in Malegaon Ka Chintu.
Nasir regretted at “nasty” commercialization and mushrooming growth of video production companies in Maleewood, “It’s not entertainment, but money making which has become the goal of companies coming these days in this town.”
At present this veteran of Maleewood is busy in producing, Malegaon Ka Tana Bana, a film which is based on “the communal harmony between the Hindus and the Muslims in Malegaon.”
(Danish Reyaz is a Mumbai based Journalist, associated with The Sunday Indian weekly)
[Photos Courtesy: By Sanjay Solanki]
Souce :
The Godfather 

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