Following its rounds of the festival circuit, Thanks Maa hits the cinemas this week. A serious look at abandoning newborns, usually born out of illicit relationships, the film comes across as a well researched and realistic piece of work. Also, its triumph lies in its casting in general and especially of the street urchins, some abandoned, some runaways. The film’s comparison to Slumdog Millionaire may be inevitable.
Municipality Ghatkopar (Shams), the chief protagonist of Thanks Maa is one such boy, an abandoned child who hangs out with a gang of four other street kids, Soda (Salman), Cutting (Fayaaz), Sursuri (Almas) and Dhedh Shaaana (Jaffer), and from picking pockets to pasting wall posters, he does everything to earn money and save some to please the Municipal hospital peon where he was found abandoned in the hope that someday his parents especially his mother will come looking for him and the peon will inform him.
While running away from a children remand home where he has been sent for picking a pocket, Municipality finds a 2 day old child abandoned on its doorstep. He saves the infant from a dog but can’t leave the child at the remand home whose warden is a paedophile. Municipality then takes it upon himself to find the child’s mother and hand him over to her. Through his search, the film takes a close look at the dark side of society, its sexual exploits and selfish motives. From paedophile to sadism masochism sex to a father exploiting his own daughter, it is all there and justified.
Irfan Kamal has done a remarkable job as a writer (with co-writer Vishal Vijay Kumar) as well as the director in his debut film. Dialogue is witty as well as hard hitting. Music is good and background effective. Photography is good.
The child artistes have all done well with Shams stealing the show and Jaffer coming a close second. Alok Nath, Raghuvir Yadav, Barry John, Ranvir Shorey, Mukta Barve and Jalees Sherwani all give good support with Sanjay Mishra even doing a full Monty convincingly.
While, Thanks Maa should find all the appreciation and critical acclaim, its prospects at the box office will be minute considering it is a mature theme with kids as protagonists but is not a film for kids.