Some zany readers have often asked me if a film critic should have a different yardstick with which to judge slapstick, mindless comedies, such as the film in question today, Anees Bazmee’s Thank You. You are after all expected to, as the cliché goes, “leave your brains behind”. Let the jokes tickle you in stupor. I personally don’t take well to films which demand cerebral juggling. Entrapped in a dark room for 90 minutes, that’s not what you want to do. The film experience works best when it takes you through a journey which you are convinced is possible in real life, but perhaps not quite in the same way as it unfolds on 35mm.
When, on the other hand, a film demands you to “leave your brains behind” and then forces sexist jokes, stale dialogues, blatantly incompetent acting and glorious reinforcement of every stereotype associated with Indian society on you, it is no longer a film. It’s the gallows. Every film directed by Bazmee has the same loud, offensive and tasteless humour. With Thank You, this David Dhawan tradition of writing and film-making has reached its nadir. Bazmee has concluded that Indians are absolutely bereft of any kind of intelligence and has put together some shoddy scenes in Canada to pass off as a film. The beautiful Niagara Falls is the background for the film’s worst scene, when Sanjana (Sonam Kapoor), a weepy woman, is prevented from committing suicide because her husband is a philanderer (Raj, played by Bobby Deol). The man who stops her, Kishen (Akshay Kumar), is a humourless, self-glorifying and muscle-flexing do-gooder. Sanjana’s redemption really would have been at the Niagara’s magnificent vortex.
Mental block: Sexist jokes, stale dialogues and every possible cliché in the comedy book—Bazmee’s Thank You has an overdose of it all.
The story is banal. Three men who run a yacht company in Canada—Raj, Yogi (Irrfan Khan) and Vikram (Suniel Shetty)—are in trouble in almost every scene of the first half as their dull and imbecilic wives—Sanjana, Karthika (Rimi Sen) and Radha (Celina Jaitley), respectively—discover that their husbands commit serial adultery. Kishen is the spy who exposes the men in front of them. The second half gets more lame and more insufferable. The climax is stretched to reveal why Kishen is the messiah for bimbettes. More outrageously, the sanctity of wedlock is blatantly upheld—the women forgive the men’s “small mistakes” and Kishen has the parting shot: playing, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin (the women are his mice), his signature tune on a shiny metal flute.
There’s not much to be said about the performances. All are uniformly clumsy and insipid. Khan lends his role of a bumbling, clueless adulterer some humour despite the atrocious lines he, like all other characters, has. For Kapoor this is a shameful regression—certainly not the film with which to improve her already poor acting skills.
Kumar’s mindless prolificacy seems more pointless after this film. Producers and directors obviously still trust him to deliver hits. Why else would an actor who has repeatedly exposed his complete lack of charm and talent be paid so much to do exactly the same thing?
Anyone with self-love and some belief in the possibility of being entertained by a movie should avoid Thank You. And you, dear reader, I consider so much more than that.
Thank You released in theatres on Friday.
This sweet animation film is about Blu, a pet macaw in Minnesota who is taken to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, his home territory, to breed with Jewel, a female macaw. The romance blooms but there are obstacles—they are kidnapped and are about to be sold. Their adventures in sun-soaked, beautifully recreated Brazil form the crux of the film. From the creators of ‘Ice Age’, ‘Rio’ is a delightful watch for children as well as adults.
Just Go with It
A single man (Adam Sandler) poses as an unhappily married one in front of a hot new girlfriend, with his friend (Jennifer Aniston) posing as his wife. He later discovers that his friend is indeed the love of his life. Nicole Kidman gets a cameo, but most critics worldwide have criticized the film’s insipid writing.
‘Rio’ and ‘Just Go with It’ released in theatres on Friday.