It is dawn. A dawn like any other, and a group of street children can be seen warming themselves by a fire; which, they have made from cartons and anything that is ‘burnable’ that they have collected from the streets.
They are street kids; and, it is dawn. So in that very scene on is eating—perhaps from a ‘catch’ from one of the few rubbish dumps in the city of Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital. The other is still sleeping. No blanket. No anything. Just on pieces of cartons spread just by the side of the road.
The one that was eating, now full, and with no iota of need for the fire to warm himself, rises and walks direct to where the sleeping boy is lying ‘peacefully’ and kicks. “It is time for business,” he says. “Let’s go.” He does not stop there. He goes to the boys warming themselves by the fire and takes it out with his kicks and big stone.
That is how their day begins. And, that is how ‘The Town Monger’ begins.
Well, there are too many movies that have been watched in Malawi; and, most Malawian movies in the country are shoddy—tasteless. They have an incomprehensible plot, unrealistic characters and scenes that will put someone off; even the best movie fanatic from all the toddles of life.
Except for a few initiatives by some; in this industry; which, still has no name to be identified with, this industry is unpalatable and shameful in every sense.
It is a rich movie—with a rich voice that speaks the gospel of social change. It will not put you off because it has characters that are speaking Chichewa throughout because the subtitles are not just subtitles you have seen from those other movies you have seen—the movies are rich, too.
Written by Abdul Sharif Shaibu, Juma Katunda and Iman Shaib—the protagonists—the movie tells one that it does not take one to go to school to produce a good movie.
The movie is a great that requires us all to take an initiative in social change, even if it means we never even stepped around the fence of an elementary school.
One of their PR strategists, Dennis Iman, actually says it is only one out of the whole crew that can read and write in English.
“Actually, most of the team comes from one of the worst in Area 36 of Lilongwe,” says Iman, “but the writers of the story are all determined to bring about social change.”
The writers—who in this movie are protagonists—are talented acrobats who after realising that most of their own—the young ones—from Area 36 are causing havoc in the streets of Lilongwe make a decision, that is supported by elders, to have all the street kids back so that they can get back to school and do martial arts.
The kids are hired by a gangster who uses them for pickpocketing and street confrontation. After the boys are picked from the streets, the gangster is mad. He hunts for the boys.
And, you can guess what will happen. And, you can get how this ambitious plot ends.
But, may you can guess; as, the title suggests: ‘The Town Monger.’ The trailer can be watched here:
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