|Produced By||Quantum Films|
|Directed By||Irfan Kamal|
|Master Shams||Master Salman|
|Master Jaffer||Master Fayaaz|
|Baby Almas||Raghuveer Yadav|
While on the run from the reformatory, a 12 year old boy named Municipality finds and saves a two day old abandoned baby from becoming the prey to a ferocious street dog. Failing to find any takers among the people whom he deemed responsible and respectable, Municipality takes up the onus of finding the mother of that abandoned baby himself. Municipality's rock steady determination ultimately helps him emerge a winner against all odds as he reaches that baby's mother but in bargain he loses his most precious possession, the flawless and god-like image of a mother he used to see in his dreams and probably the hope that he'll ever find his own mother again.
‘Thanks Maa’ is the new age ‘Salaam Bombay’ and if this film doesn’t make you swell at the issue of child abandonment, nothing else will. The film makes brilliant use of child actors and even if you cringe at the use of expletives from the mouth of young children, one can only sit back and admire the ease with which they deliver complex emotions on screen. Though, I found the script slightly unrealistic but then with a subject like this certain creative liberties and exaggerations on plot become indispensable. Full marks to the director Irfan Kamal for picking up such a subject and executing it to near perfection. If you are an avid movie buff like me and have sat through almost every movie which got released through the 90s, then you would remember Irfan Kamal from a very forgettable ‘Chaahoonga Main Tujhe’ and then a certain Mithun starrer ‘Military Raaj’ as an actor. I guess it’s safe to say he is a much, much, much better director than an actor.
‘Thanks Maa’ as a movie does well in introducing the central characters and then building a subtle warmth in your heart for these decrepit children of a lesser God. I am sure once you have seen this movie, you won’t be able to just pass by or offer money to a street urchin without ‘Municipality Ghatkopar’ aka ‘Salman’ flashing in your head once. And while on one hand you tend to sympathize with the ordeal ‘Municipality’ goes through during his two day journey with a baby on his arm, the layers on other characters makes you detest them with all your heart too. Be it the pedophile caretaker, the woefully selfish hooker, the wussy customer, the slimy pimp, the adulterous husband, the manipulating government hospital gatekeeper, the drug addict taxi driver or an incestuous father – the darkness in their characters stinks and makes your stomach double up.
This movie deserves all the praise for keeping it gutturally realistic with both the characters and the language (at least as much as the script permits) and showcasing what ‘Traffic Light’ & ‘Page 3’ just so superficially touched – the scum of the society around us. I rate this as a 9 out of 10 movie and it is no wonder that this movie was officially selected to be screened at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, International Film Festival of India and Palm Springs International Film Festival. The debut child actor Master Shams Patel has also won the Best Child Artist for the film, in the 56th National Film Awards.
To sum up, Go Watch !!! (Find it on YouTube if you are too cheap to buy your own DVD)