Thank God attempts to re-think the ‘accounting practices’ of the Hindu deity Chitragupta on a man’s deeds and misdeeds, while delivering a tale on morality. The movie is the official remake of the Norwegian film Sorte Kugler. The film also marks the return of Masti and Dhamaal fame Indra Kumar to Bollywood after six years.
Ayaan (Sidharth Malhotra) is a greedy real estate broker whose business is impacted by demonetisation. Forced to sell his mansion, he tries everything until a car crash takes him to the game show of Chitragupta aka CG (Ajay Devgn). Ayaan has to account for the misdeeds of his life in a gameshow that inspired KBC.
The film’s version of heaven seems inspired by Hunger Games’ Capitol with Ajay Devgn dressed in a dapper suit. As Devgn’s character says in the film, it is the era of Amazon Prime and not Doordarshan. There are celestial nymphs dressed like cheerleaders and Yamadoot or YD in a crisp white shirt and black pants.
Sidharth, Ajay show
Siddharth Malhotra is smooth and does justice to the character who is caught with his pants down and will do anything to win.
His character, Ayaan is a toxic man, jealous of even his wife’s success. He tries to manipulate God by Rs 1,000 worth of offerings. He feels like every other Delhi businessman/broker whose motto is profit-making and chanting God’s name to cover for his fraud. Sidharth looks completely at ease in playing the megalomaniac who gets angry and irritated at the drop of a hat. In fact, he makes his slimy character likable.
Ajay Devgn delivers a solid performance and dons the hat of a game show host with flair. Rakul Preet Singh is mostly wasted as the police-officer wife of Ayaan. Seema Pahwa too has very few scenes to make a lasting impact.
The Rakul-Sidharth chemistry is lackluster. In fact, Siddharth’s pairing with Nora Fatehi in a song, or even his chemistry with Ajay for that matter looks more convincing.
While the game show format is definitely a winner, the speeches on morality and how to be a good man are not interesting enough. It feels outdated, as do the ‘misdeeds’. In an era of grey areas and dark lies, it almost feels like a sanitised outlook on what makes up for good and evil.
The really funny moments are few, and after the initial laughs, the film starts feeling stretched.
In many scenes, the film looks like a cross between a 90s Bollywood movie and early morning preaching shows that Aastha channel was famous for, albeit in better clothes and settings. The game show itself isn’t thrilling or edge-of-the-seat in any way. There is no witty banter beyond the obvious, almost WhatsApp jokes.
The segment on respect for women feels especially outdated, which uses the ‘respect women because they are someone’s mother or sister’ trope. Even while teaching Ayaan to value his mom, it falls back on the trope of pedestalising the unpaid labour of mothers.
The film wastes a premise that could have been put to better use with original ideas or quirkier twists and better comedy. Unfortunately, it never happens and the film ends up being just a ‘clean’ family drama.
(Edited by Ratan Priya)