Filmmaker Indra Kumar’s (known for Masti, Dhamaal, and Grand Masti) latest directorial, Thank God, is a lecture on morality that falls somewhere along the lines of the ‘Ideal Boy’ infographic posters from the 90s. Sidharth Malhotra plays the role of Ayaan Kapoor, who is a walking red flag with enough flaws to shock God.
How a real-estate broker is the worst person God has seen is not a thread you want to pull at because then most of the plot unravels. Malhotra’s performance is impressive when the scenes have lower stakes but it’s tough to invest in his act when emotions are dialled up. He has lost his business and his riches and is struggling to pay his loans.
He is envious of his wife, played by Rakul Preet Singh, who became a successful cop while he couldn’t. A lie told in fear, when he was a kid, derailed his sister’s life but it’s not a wrong he is willing to fix.
Ajay Devgn plays CG or Chitragupt, the Hindu deity assigned to rewarding or punishing humans based on the sum total of their actions on Earth. In Thank God, humans are stuck in limbo between life and death while their karma is weighed - if white balls outweigh black, they get to go back to their lives and for the reverse, they’re sent to hell.
Devgn has played baritone-voiced people in positions of authority before and he brings the same effect to this film as well, with healthy references to Singham.
The women in Thank God act as mere tools for the film’s flawed moral messaging to come through. Even the film’s attempt at challenging its own misogyny is so surface-level that it doesn’t have the effect it intends to.
Rakul Preet Singh plays the ‘perfect wife’ (to her merit, she plays it well) but even the idea of the ‘perfect wife’ is tied to sacrifice and overlooking her husband’s obvious flaws.
Nore Fatehi appears as Reema, an actor Ayaan is obsessed with, and later becomes a crucial aspect to one of the ‘tests’ the main lead has to pass. The film is clearly also banking on the track ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ and Fatehi’s ability to make anything go viral – that’s just how popular both of them are.
The film goes from comedy to grief to introspection rapidly. While all these emotions are deployed well individually, as a whole, the film suffers from this constant tonal shift. For the most part, the film doesn’t seem to be taking itself very seriously and that works for comic effect.
Writers Madhur Sharma and Aakash Kaushik create a story that seems appropriately linear till it becomes predictable. Thank God isn’t a film of logic or science, it is purely based on emotion and pathos and in a story like that, predictability can have quite the adverse effect.