Monday, September 18, 2006

Malegaon Days.

I’ve never been to Malegaon and hopefully will never set foot in the unfortunate and miserable place. No, I’m not condescending. Not a bit. I can well imagine the pall of doom and forlornness that must be forever hovering over the town. To live there looking forward to nothing must be what inspired the locals to make movies spoofing the mainstream movies made in Mumbai. I find it ironical, considering that these movies used to be made for strictly local viewing in the video parlour, that they always had Malegaon in the title. Malegaon Ke Sholay, Malegaon Ke Karan-Arjun, Malegaon Ka Rangeela, Malegaon Ki Lagaan … you get the drift? Is it not like rubbing salt in the wound reminding it is about (and probably set in) miserable and grimy Malegaon? Equally ironical, Malegaon’s Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Dharmendra, Pran and other actors had to pay to act – and still did. Maybe, while the movie was being shot, they could feel they were who they claimed to be: one way out of their otherwise grimy everyday reality. Nonetheless, I’m amazed by the humour even the movie characters transformed names show. Gabbar Singh metamorphosed into Rubber Singh. Basanti became Basmati. (Equally revealing are the names of Malegaon's localities: Tension Chowk, Achanak Nagar, Rishwat Nagar, Raunakabad, Tashkent Nagar, Bajrangwadi, Ayodhya Nagar and Islamabad.) It seems the Malegaon movie making is no more. Because the unlicensed video parlours have been forced to shut down. In other words, there are no distribution outlets left. So, the one escape route for the chosen few is now no more. R.I.P.

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