In a vital sequence from this film, the warden of the reformatory [Alok Nath] gives the street kid [Shams Patel] a bar of soap, tells him that he should have a bath pronto and should, therefore, undress in front of him. Before the street kid realises what his intentions are, the warden starts fondling with the kid's hands. The street kid snaps, he realises that something is wrong and flees from the reformatory the same night.
In the penultimate scene, when the street kid actually traces the mother of the abandoned child, he learns a bitter truth about life. The truth shatters not just this hardened street kid by now, but also the viewer who is now an active participant in the journey of this street kid and the abandoned child.
Debutante director Irfan Kamal's THANKS MAA is not a no-brainer Bollywood film. It is gritty, courageous, realistic and hits you like a ton of bricks!
SALAAM BOMBAY, TRAFFIC SIGNAL, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and now THANKS MAA. The lives of the under-privileged street kids continue to attract storytellers across the globe. But THANKS MAA is different because it tells the journey of a street kid who goes on a mission to reunite an abandoned kid with his mother.
Irfan Kamal's directorial debut pricks your conscience and makes you realize that a change is a must. The film disturbs you no end, especially its shocking climax. But the fact is that you can't turn a blind eye to it since there are umpteen cases of paedophilia and incest in real life and THANKS MAA only mirrors the fact.
A 12-year-old street kid named Municipality [Shams Patel], while on the run from the reformatory, 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.
THANKS MAA has several poignant moments and most of them keep you on the edge. Especially when the street kid encounters the head eunuch [Jalees Sherwani; powerful performance], a prostitute [Mukta Barve; effective] and of course, the mother of the abandoned child. The street lingo and the generous usage of expletives does raise eyebrows initially, but well, THANKS MAA is a real film. So you need to accept it the way it is!
On the flip side, the writing is slightly loose towards the second hour. A few sequences seem unwanted. However, the climax is simply outstanding and comes as a complete shocker.
Irfan Kamal makes a solid impact as a first-time director. His choice of the subject as also the handling of the material deserves brownie points. The writing [Irfan Kamal, Vishal Vijay Kumar] is gripping at most times. The background score [Ranjit Barot] is effective. The camera [Ajayan Vincent] follows the protagonist like a shadow and the viewer looks like a participant in the entire exercise.
THANKS MAA has sparkling performances by every member of the cast, especially the street kids, but the show belongs to Shams Patel [who has bagged the National Award] and who delivers an astounding performance. The street kids - Salman [as Soda], Fayaaz [Cutting], Almas [Sursuri] and Jaffer [Dhed Shanaa] - are outstanding. A number of actors appear in cameos, which include Alok Nath [tremendous], Raghubir Yadav [loud], Barry John [okay], Sanjay Mishra [splendid] and Ranvir Shorey [believable].
On the whole, THANKS MAA is truly original, innovative and pioneering cinema. The film has won several awards and adulation across the globe and deserves every bit of it. This is one meaningful film you can't afford to miss!