Thank You For Coming
Onto the next release of the weekend but before that India’s campaign for the 50 over World Cup kicks off today and we at Popcorn Reviewss would like to wish our team the very best. Go get the cup boys! With that, I have finished watching the new Hindi film Thank You For Coming which is now available in a theatre near you. As you may have already guessed it, the wordplay in the title is indicative of an adult comedy after ages from the Hindi Film Industry. S*x comedies aren’t new(the subject is a taboo though even in 2023) at all but I feel they are heavily tilted in favour of males. Anything that is made through the male gaze is passed off as comedy even if they have moments of cringe. You can take the examples of the Masti franchise(more so Grand Masti and Great Grand Masti) or even the Kya Kool Hai Hum franchise that are filled with cringe-worthy jokes to objectify women but are easily passed off as a comedy(which I had enjoyed back in the day only to get perspective on how problematic it was later on). But whenever there is an adult comedy circling around the pleasures of a woman, people are quick to dismiss it as ‘Woke Feminism’ or throwing in terms like ‘What Would Children Learn From This?’. Make no mistake, these are A rated films and definitely NOT for children, so the argument doesn’t hold true at all.
When it comes to the concept of an orgasm, I have a problem especially if you are ignorant of the fairer sex having one. The concept of feminism states a sense of equality for both the male and female gender in terms of opportunities, but more importantly also the mindset of understanding the other gender along with their perspectives. So I am all for sex comedies featuring women too. I mean why should boys have all the fun! That said, does Thank You For Coming manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Thank You For Coming(premiered at TIFF to rave reviews earlier this year) follows the story of a woman in her early 30s, lonely, and never having experienced an orgasm in her life. Will things change for her? Now, there are two ways to look at this film – one through the lens of a usual sex comedy, and the other through the message which it is trying to convey with respect to patriarchy. I did feel that the latter was a little skewed and preachy, but the former was light and breezy that worked in the film’s favour. Had the story been slightly subdued and clear with its messaging, the film would have been a better proposition. The screenplay standing at a shade under 2 hours does make for an enjoyable ride for most parts while slightly stuttering in the final reels, thus making for a mixed kind of an outing.
The drama unfolds almost in the form of a fairy tale, wherein you are introduced to a young protagonist who is held up for her talks on ‘sex’ during a school play. Her supportive mother is overuled by her grandmother following which she has had to apologise in front of her school to prevent suspension. Soon the hormones kick in, and you are reintroduced to the protagonist who soon has different men in her lives at various junctures, but none of them could satisfy her urge of a perfect orgasm. The concept of ‘sex’ is very different for males and females. While for the males it is more physical, it is emotional and almost nuanced for a female. And hence, to stage your comedy on the latter needed some nuanced writing. The little issue that I had was presented the case of pleasure through the male gaze. But outside that space, the comedy was working too, given that I had a smile on my face with the events unfolding.
<span;>The proceedings are fairly engrossing with the concept of friendship kicking in, in the first hour before turning the focus on the protagonist only. The drama doesn’t quite stray from its tone and that continues to remain the biggest strength here. The characterization is a hit and a miss here, given that a couple of subplots that had the potential, could have resulted in an even better product. For instance, the character of the mother had such a sensitive back story which could have turned into a parallel tale throughout the film. But the focus was mainly on the character of Bhumi Pednekar, something that wasn’t a case of bad writing either. The comedy here will not make you laugh hysterically but the streaks of it are enough to put a smile on your face.
I quite liked how the LGBTQIA concept was presented with a touch of sensitivity and laughter(not in the sense of a caricature) wherein the tone of comedy was situational. Things take a turn in the second hour in a rather quirky manner, and the events involved in finding the person through whom the character of Bhumi did get an orgasm was rather fun to watch. Almost all characters are circled back to, thus resulting in a fun watch. But the issue lies in the events leading up to the final act that does turn preachy with its skewed messaging. I did feel that the drama did lose a little of its objectivity and what it stood for, while wishing to drive home a point against patriarchy which wasn’t a smooth transition either. Perhaps, they should have stopped at the ‘self pleasure’ angle. So overall, the screenplay here is enjoyable when it sticks to the sex comedy genre while missing a beat with its messaging.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are part quirky, part playful with a little cringe along the way that does ensure for a fun watch. The music is good and goes well with the mood of the drama. The use of renditions of yesteryear’s songs did account for an enjoyable watch too. The BGM is adequate and decent. The cinematography is outstanding and it gives a fresh vibe to the product. The editing is quite crisp as well. Director Karan Boolani does a decent job here and he definitely doesn’t divert from the tone of the drama. The male gaze is evident but he does make the drama work strictly when looked upon as a sex comedy. Yes, he does falter in the final act but that was also to do with the writing. So overall, a decent job done by the director.
The performances are pretty good here by the ensemble cast although most characters are one-dimensional. Dolly Ahluwalia as Nani Kishori is well restrained and does a good job. Anil Kapoor as Professor is clearly having a ball here and his Gulzar saab reference cracked me up. Kusha Kapila as Neha and Karan Kundra as Arjun are first rate and they pull off their characters with aplomb. Sushant Divgikar as Rahul was just set free and he performed wonderfully well, flaunting his choices wonderfully. Gautmik as Karan was sincere and endearing. Saloni Daini as Rania is a treat to watch and she brings forth her vulnerabilities wonderfully well. Shehnaaz Gill as Rushi is hilarious and she is incredibly good here. Pradyuman Singh as Jeevan is first rate as is Tejas Chaudhary.
Dolly Singh as Pallavi is fabulous to watch and she handled her outburst at the end rather well. Shibani Bedi as Tina was excellent to the core and her character was matured and always gave balanced advices. Natasha Rastogi as Beena is brilliant and does a wonderful job here. There was an emotional baggage to her character and she portrayed that beautifully. I wish her character gets a spin-off with respect to her past, that would be an interesting proposition. Bhumi Pednekar as Kanika has a towering presence onscreen and she is absolute fire cracker here. She successfully hides some of the flaws of the writing in an incredibly vibrant act. She was brilliant to the core!
Despite the flaws with its skewed messaging at the end, Thank You For Coming does work strictly as an adult comedy which is backed by good performances which can be enjoyed if you watch it with an open mind. But having said that, the film is targeted at a very slender section of the audience and so it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Available in a theatre near you.