There is no subtext to this film’s title – the reference is intentional, direct and the overriding theme of the 120-minute Thank You for Coming. Karan Boolani’s comedy, based on a script by Radhika Anand and Prashasti Singh, hinges on the threadbare conundrum of a 32-year-old woman seeking her first orgasm.
In an attempt to find her “happy ending”, Delhi native Kanika (Bhumi Pednekar) has been kissing frogs since her school days. Even as a thirtysomething, she is still seeking her Prince Charming. Her friends Tina (Shibani Bedi) and Pallavi (Dolly Singh) mock her, encourage her and rally around.
Kanika has been raised by a single gynecologist mother Bina (Natasha Rastogi), so conversations around sex are commonplace in the Kapoor household, much to the chagrin of Kanika’s grandmother (Dolly Ahluwalia). The older women have differing views. Granny wants Kanika to settle down, whereas Bina advises her pleasure-seeking daughter is to “do it yourself”.
After a string of bad choices, Kanika awakens after her engagement party – she has hastily decided to marry besotted businessman Jeevan Anand (Pradhuman Singh) – with both a hangover and the realisation that she has finally experienced the big O. But she has no recollection of who is responsible for her happiness.
The second half involves Kanika trying to retrace her inebriated steps from party to climax. Unequal screen time is accorded to her visiting her former “frogs” (including Anil Kapoor, Sushant Divgikar), only to realise the true nature of those relationships and acknowledging her feelings for the awkward Jeevan.
The story believes that it is doing a lot, but leaves plots half-baked. Dispensable characters pop in and out, such as a rival from school (Kusha Kapila) and the uber-confident younger woman Rushi (Shehnaaz Gill), who overreaches when she describes herself as “happiness”. The more robust relationships leave you wanting. Like, who are these best friends when they are not talking about Kanika’s unfulfilled desires? What is Kanika’s identity outside of her sexual escapades? How did she meet Jeevan in the first place?
Juxtaposed with Kanika’s conflict and angst is Tina’s daughter Rabya (Saloni Daini), who is experiencing her share of growing pains, confusion, sexual insecurities and slut-shaming. Through Rabya, Boolani has a fleeting brush with generational issues of patriarchy and gender politics. The conflict, which feels force-fitted, slightly redeems the frivolity, but it is too deliberate an attempt at ticking boxes.
Present in almost every scene, Pednekar’s spirited performance breathes O2 into a one-dimensional film. Daini’s depiction of the teenaged student also pops out of the overdressed frame.
The script is adept at taking swings at selfish men who put their own pleasure before that of their sexual partners, but it doesn’t answer the pressing question: why doesn’t a 32-year-old modern woman appreciate the value of self-help?