Thank God review: Sidharth Malhotra’s moral drama pierces the heart, yet it provides the healing touch

The Indra Kumar directorial has its flaws, but it provides plenty of food for thought for every lost soul. Sidharth Malhotra ‘s fine show drives the social family dramedy.

Rating: 3 / 5

By Mayur Lookhar

Faith is a powerful tool. If you believe in judgement day, then wouldn’t a noble man spend a lifetime doing all good karmas? Unfortunately, in Kaliyuga, even the believer tends to go astray. Ayaan Kapoor [Sidharth Malhotra], the broke Mumbai broker is no believer, yet he finds himself playing the ‘game of life’ in heaven.

Director Indra Kumar’s Thank God [2022] might be the remake of Danish film Sorte Kugler [2009]. However, the judgement day concept is common to many cultures for ages. Hindu mythology has stories of Yamraj – the god of death and justice, Yamduta [messenger of death], and Chitragupt, the divine entity who keeps a record of every human being’s good and bad deeds. We’ve seen many a film on these legends, most notably in Telugu film Yamaleela [1994] and its equally popular Hindi remake Taqdeerwala [1995].

A disbeliever Ayaan wonders if he really is in the presence of the mythical beings, Chitragupt and Yamdut, then why don’t they appear in their traditional avatars? Chitragupt aka CG [Ajay Devgn] and Yamdut [Mahesh Balraj] readily oblige as they turn up in their traditional avatar, also speaking Sanskrit. Ayaan is naturally puzzled to which Chitragupt replies, “That’s the problem. You people don’t understand it, and so we’ve transformed ourselves to your standards”. Indra Kumar and his writers Aakash Kaushik and Madhur Sharma tell the ancient mythology in modern style, catering to current sensibilities and simple language.

We haven’t seen the Danish film, but it appears that the big inspiration here [Thank God] is the ‘game of life’ that will decide the protagonist’s fate.  

Though the makers promoted it as a family comedy film, but it would be unfair to bracket it into an outright comedy film. The humour here stems from the situations that Ayaan finds himself in, both on earth and in heaven. Each situation often ends with a ‘moral of the story’ that pierces your heart, leaving familiar souls with the guilty feeling. However, the hands that gave the wounds, also provide the healing touch.

Indra Kumar’s film is a modern take on morality viewed through the prism of ancient mythology. It provides plenty of food for thought – courtesy its one-liners by CG [Ajay Devgn].  “We believe in God, but we don’t listen to Him”. “If we can cry endlessly over one grief, then why can’t we laugh repeatedly over one bad joke?”. “We tend to look for a dark spot in a white canvas” (Some food for thought us critics too]. It is lines like these that naturally makes one look within. The one scene that stays with you forever is how Ayaan realizes that all these years, he’s gorged on the plum pieces of a mango, and left the seed for his mother [Seema Pahwa].

You ought to give credit to the writer duo of Kaushik and Sharma for creating such impactful scenes and one-liners. However, a film cannot be judged on mere lines of morality. The early screenplay appears dull. The one thing constant though here is the refreshing show by Sidharth Malhotra. You’d relate to Ayaan if you share some of his sins. Malhotra emotes Ayaan’s despondency finely. Despite his flaws, Malhotra makes you empathise with the character. An Ayaan is a modicum of a man’s greed, lust. This rat race for success often leaves us a bitter soul. It drifts us apart from our dear ones. More importantly, it drifts an individual apart from his inner being.

Ajay Devgn gives Chitragupt a whole new image makeover and the seasoned actor is fairly competent in his act. However, barring the thought-provoking one liners, there’s no real dept to the character. Rakul Preet Singh’s cop avatar Ruhi didn’t really convince us. Nor were we moved by Ayaan’s dark childhood secret where his elder sister [Urmila Kothare] wrongly drew the flak for ages.  Child artiste Kiana Khanna, who plays Sidharth and Rakul’s daughter, is adorable. Save for that mango scene, Seema Pahwa doesn’t have much to offer here. The Manike remake is pretty average and the music doesn’t really allow Nora Fatehi to show her great moves.

The ‘game of life’ is inspired by the Danish film, but Kumar and his team create a heaven as per their vision. One doesn’t really look for special effects in such drama, but Indra Kumar and his designer’s vision for a swanky heaven is not all that bad. The standout visual in Kumar’s heaven is no scales of justice, but the two large glass cylindrical structures that decide the fate of a soul. The black and white balls signify the good and bad deeds.

After a rather dull first half, Thank God picks up momentum in the business end. Don’t look for logic in certain climatic sequences. After all, such stories thrive on its fair share of fiction. No PK [2014] here, but Thank God [2022] has some words of wisdom for few sensitive hardliners too. Guys, just be open to it.

Despite its flaws, Thank God earns respect for its noble intent. Ideally, we’d love to say Thank God It’s Friday, but that is usually a day to indulge in blissful sins. Given its mythological aspect, and how the protagonist is a Hanuman loyalist, it is perfectly fine to say, “Thank God it’s Tuesday”.

Thank God [2022] has released in theatres from Tuesday [25 October].


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