"Art house cinema is typically a serious, noncommercial, independently made film aimed at a niche audience rather than a mass audience" says Wikipedia. One of the elements of such a style is "Social Realism", again courtesy the same Wikipedia article. 'Thanks Maa' squarely falls into that category. It tugs at your heartstrings, it is intense and hits you with such ferocity that after you come out of the movie hall, you feel blank and dazed and move like a zombie. Your head is so heavy and simply too many things ceaselessly run within that you have to watch your every step carefully, lest you lose your whereabouts!
If you want cinema that is hard hitting showing the stark societal realities, as they exist and above all, if you are courageous to bear such an experience, then do yourself a favor. Watch 'Thanks Maa'. Instead if you are happy when reality is just scratched at the surface and prefer escapist entertainment, then this one is strictly not recommended.
Coming to the story of the movie, as I have always maintained in all my blog posts, I would prefer the reader - YOU - to experience it. All I can say is that, the movie shows the predatory nature of human behavior in a manner that can't be easily described. It is not vulgar, obscene, not in-your-face kind, but at the same time, very effective. To have accomplished something like this very courageously without any stars tells something about the whole cast - the conviction in the story and the strong impulse to convey it no matter the outcome, I doff my hat.
The language, very street like and laden with expletives works to the movie's favor. The child actors cannot be more authentic and their acting still gives me goose flesh. When Municipality realizes that he can escape from the juvenile home he is placed in and when he agonizingly cries to explain his earnestness to his friends - these are just two examples of the several high points of this movie. The background music, when the children are happy especially, makes you want to jump in joy. The costumes enhance the 'social realism' feel that you take away ultimately.
Rarely has such an exemplary movie been made by one of our countrymen on any social evil. 'Thanks Maa' is an unparalleled experience! It is a pity that the movie hall had only 20 people. Have we all become so escapist? Something to ponder...
Image courtesy - Sulekha.com