Review: 'Thank You For Coming' achieves several firsts in Hindi cinema in the garb of sex & female pleasure
Five years after 'Veere Di Wedding', things have changed exponentially - not necessarily as much with gender equality but with the logistics owing to living in a world post-pandemic.
Published: Thursday,Oct 05, 2023 13:34 PM GMT-06:00
Thank You For Coming
The definition of a 'chick flick' is criminally loathed to an extent where the effort and thought behind it never gets due credit, especially in our country. Our count of making chick flicks is so low that it is, hence, considered a 'gutsy' move when you make one, especially in a man's world. But the likes of producer Rhea Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor took that leap of faith with Veere Di Wedding five years ago, and while it received polarising reviews, it did receive love and numbers from the audience.
Here we are, five years later, where things have changed exponentially - not necessarily as much with gender equality but with the logistics owing to living in a world post-pandemic. Rhea and Ekta have collaborated yet again with director Karan Boolani to present another 'chick flick' in the form of Thank You For Coming (TYFC) with a new topic and newer cast.
As Kanika Kapur (Bhumi Pednekar) tries to find sexual pleasure from a man - something she has never experienced, we are taken through the ordeals in her life - some expected, some unprecedented and some wondrous. Having had the chance to see the film beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
The Flavor, The Humor & The Dialogues
Staying true to its promise, TYFC bathes in the flavor of being a women-dominated film with characters that are as 'modern' as they can be perceived to be. With an entertaining backstory about the protagonist, the central point of the film turns out to be that of a girl who is so whitewashed with the concept of finding her prince charming due to fables and society that her motto becomes about finding the 'perfect man' for a 'happily ever after' ending. It becomes about sex due to the instances of her never getting an orgasm in the range of men she has been with.
In the outset and portrayal, the treatment might seem 'too bold', but TYFC gives it a gentle touch by not taking itself too seriously and showcasing multiple flawed characters. This is majorly done at the expense of humor and some genuinely rib-tickling dialogues.
Lines like 'savitri bano toh bore, savita bhabhi bano toh whore', 'veer zara type pyaar, sunny leone type bauchar' come at opportune moments and generate a laugh at the situation as intended. Wordplay surrounding reaching the climax and having a happy ending, the title itself - thank you for 'coming' and a scene-stealing line when Karan Kundrra's character says, 'I find naagins very sexy' in reference to his real-life relationship with Tejasswi Prakash make for some of the best moments in the film. This is especially essential when you are trying to make a topic and a storyline like this palatable for the general viewers.
Several Hindi-Cinema Firsts
Another thing that TYFC achieves is doing several Hindi-cinema firsts. When was the last time you saw a non-stereotypical portrayal of drag queens in a commercial Hindi film? Hell, Hindi cinema, in general. Not to my recollection. There is a large section out there who continues to be homophobic and, more so, entirely unaware of the concept of drag queens.
This film not only presents this for the first time but celebrates it through a character to an extent where the maximum hooting and whistling happened at that time. Apart from this, normalising the conversation surrounding sex and female orgasms in a way that has never been done before is yet another feat the film achieves with aplomb.
The film rides almost entirely on Bhumi Pedenkar, who delivers a stellar act. From being flawed to naive yet caring and just unapologetic, Pednekar is fantastic as Kanika Kapur. Shehnaaz Gill has a couple of moments to shine, and she plays seemingly an alternate version of her real self. Kusha Kapila doesn't have much to do, while Dolly Singh also impresses with her role as one of Pednekar's best friends.
However, it is the duo of actors, Shibani Bedi and Saloni Diani, who are absolute standouts in the film, where they not only get meaty characters to portray but do an exceptional job with it. Especially Diani, who, for the uninitiated, might still remember her as a child artist comedienne playing the famous Gangubai in comedy shows. Now, as a teenager, Diani as Rabya delivers a fine performance. Apart from these actors, the cameo roles by Sushant Digvikar and Karan Kundrra are placed well, but of course, who else but Anil Kapoor to steal the show by just appearing on-screen! Kapoor has quite a notable cameo, and as you would expect, he shines and steals with quite a courageous role.
The Underwhelming Aspects
It isn't that TYFC doesn't have its moments of huge gaps and wondering, which hamper the storytelling in several ways. One of the key factors is the central plot itself. Even though understandable, the overall arc of the protagonist only finding men for sexual pleasure dies down with its impact as the film progresses.
It starts becoming more and more immaterial, especially towards the climax. Sensitive topics like consent, gender equality in other things than sex, motherhood, and being a woman in a man's world are just brushed upon but never explored outside the realm of its linear storyline.
The character of Pradyuman Singh as Jeevan Anand is rather archetypal in its treatment and faces an arc that is predictable. The monologue, in the end, assisted with some 'awareness' moments, doesn't leave an impact and seems forced rather than organic.
Thank You For Coming might seem like it is just about sex and the tabooed conversations around it, but it is about much more. In the garb of a seemingly titillating topic, the film sparks several conversations, entertains and achieves several firsts that need to be celebrated. It is not perfect, but it isn't meant to be.
Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)