This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Praveen Kumar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Do You Know About The Man Who Started His Own Film Industry In A Village?

More from Praveen Kumar

Malegaon is a small town in the Nasik district of Maharashtra, mostly known for bomb blasts of 2006 and communal tensions. It has all the ingredients for being a small town. It has power cut problems, it has an industry that it’s known for – powerloom. But it has something else that we usually don’t find in most places: a film industry of its own, known as Mollywood, or occasionally, Malliwood.

Don’t let the words ‘film industry’ fool you, though – although that’s how it’s known to the world, the making of films in Malegaon has been more like a community project at times, than a business one.

Nasir Sheikh is almost wholly responsible for the fame of Malegaon’s film industry. Nasir once owned a video parlour and in the course of his business, used to buy and watch lots of CDs of Bollywood & Hollywood movies. From there, he got the idea to make his own films. He began with a spoof of classic Bollywood flick “Sholay”, and named it, very appropriately, “Malegaon Ka Sholay”. This has been pretty much the USP of Mollywood since then – they pick classics and make parodies of it. When asked why he chose to make parodies, Nasir says that comedy is permanent, it stays with people. See how they recall Charlie Chaplin easily, but they have trouble recalling any action or horror movie.

The formula is quite simple for every movie made in Malegaon. The characters, be it Jay and Veeru or Superman himself, have to undergo a transformation to become local. Their food, language, costumes – everything is infused with the taste of Malegaon. The hero doesn’t need to have a six pack, and is usually one of them: a hero who takes leave from his work in the powerloom factory to become Superman. The actress is sourced from a nearby village; women aren’t allowed to work outside the house in Malegaon.

The 2012 documentary “Supermen of Malegaon”, directed by Faiza Ahmad Khan, takes us into the inner echelons of this film industry.

Khan’s documentary follows Nasir, as he begins working on one of his projects “Malegaon Ka Superman”. We join Nasir, as he visits the tailor to get the costume made, finalises the cast and gathers all the equipment. Khan makes sure that the camera doesn’t come between the audience and the story, keeping her own presence negligible so that we feel like we are the one tagging along with Nasir as he moves from place to place. The cameraman also, is quick to catch all the necessary bits. When an elder says that working outside is not suitable for women, and there is no greater work for them than domestic work, the camera quickly zooms in on Nasir who amusingly shakes his head.

Five years down the line, reality has caught up with this dream project. Unable to cope with piracy, the rise of online streaming, and resistance from religious heads and other villagers, Nasir now runs Hotel Prince and offers Namaz regularly.

At its core, “Supermen of Malegaon” is about the innocence of dreams, a passion that refuses to be bogged down by real world complexities. A guy with no prior training and experience decided to make films and succeeded in doing that. How many of us can claim to be so straightforward when it comes to our dreams? His movies may not be the epitome of creative genius, but his passion for making them is unparalleled.

The documentary went on to win 15 awards in total, including Jury Award for Best Documentary at Asiatica Film Mediale, Rome, but it achieved much more in bringing the Malegaon film industry to the limelight. As media attention converged on Malegaon, Nasir also got an opportunity to direct a TV show for SAB TV, where he created a silent comedy show, “Malegaon Ka Chintu”, inspired by his favourite, Charlie Chaplin.

The greatest achievement of this documentary, however, comes in the fact that it doesn’t try to pass judgement on anyone. It lets them be the characters they are, and keeps itself focused on observation. And it is by virtue of this observation that we come to know the ingrained conflicts of the village. We see how Nasir, who is investing everything in this film, is painfully aware that this is not his profession and never will be.

You must be to comment.

More from Praveen Kumar

Similar Posts

By Abhishek Sharma

By nipun tickoo

By Priya Prakash

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below