Bollywood Sex Comedy ‘Thank You for Coming’ Sets Toronto Gala: ‘All Girls Deserve to Have a Good Time’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Toronto Film Festival gala presentation “Thank You for Coming” is that rarity – a Bollywood sex comedy that also serves as a patriarch-bashing women empowerment tale.

Bhumi Pednekar stars as Kanika Kapoor, a Delhi food blogger and serial monogamist, who has spent her adult life seeking a satisfying love match, both emotionally and physically, but has never had an orgasm. The morning after her engagement to a dull suitor, she wakes up satisfied, but can’t remember who’s responsible.

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The film is written by two women, Radhika Anand (“Broken But Beautiful”) and stand up comic Prashasti Singh and directed by a man, Karan Boolani, making his feature directing debut. Boolani previously directed series “24: India” for Viacom18’s Colors channel and Netflix’s “Selection Day.”

“It’s a really fine line between sleaze and tease in this film, and to keep it in that tease and fun space is something that I think that we worked really hard on,” Boolani told Variety. “Bridget Jones” was an obvious reference point for the film Boolani said, as was “Moonlight.”

“When we were developing the script, obviously, I pushed myself away from it as [far as] possible, because inherently, I knew that it is an experience that I will never understand – at least, the female pleasure part of it,” Boolani said. “My only attempt was to make it feel like it wasn’t that man was the enemy, that man was also a part of this system and not just a victim, but maybe also somewhere, prey to this system, because the story is so strong from a woman’s point of view that it shouldn’t make another gender that is also trapped within this system, the enemy… the patriarchal system is our antagonist, and it’s invisible.”

Pednekar is celebrated for her films that advocate social change, beginning with her acting debut “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” (2015) that addressed the issue of weight shaming; “Toilet: A Love Story” (2017), which addressed open defecation; her character in “Bala” (2019) spoke out against skin color discrimination; and “Badhaai Do” (2022) sought to normalize LGBTQ+ relationships in India. In 2019 Busan selection “Dolly Kitty and Those Twinkling Stars,” Pednekar played the titular Kitty, a small-town girl who finds freedom and its attendant pitfalls in the big city.

Thank You for Coming
Anil Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar – “Thank You for Coming”

In “Thank You for Coming,” Pednekar’s character lives with her mother and grandmother and that echoes the actor’s real-life experience growing up in a house full of women. Pednekar describes her mother and sister as her “biggest cheerleaders” and “strongest support system.”

“Kanika Kapoor is an ode to all the female energies that I have in my life and I feel like that’s why I enjoyed playing her so much,” Pednekar told Variety. “Through my life, I’ve been body shamed. You’re constantly seeking validation as a woman growing up and [Kanika Kapoor] had that journey. That’s why I connected with her a lot.”

“The only thing that Karan constantly asked me and told me ‘the comedy is in the lines, where we have to find that moment of truth, we have to find that moment of honesty, that’s the only way this film will become whole, that’s the only way this film will be the most relatable,’ where he basically wanted every girl or anybody from the audience to look at Kanika and be like, ‘Okay, I’ve been there. That’s me. That’s my story,'” Pednekar added.

The film is produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ekta R. Kapoor for Balaji Telefilms and Anil Kapoor (who also has a cameo in the film) and Rhea Kapoor for Anil Kapoor Film and Communication Network. Rhea Kapoor has a strong track record of producing hit woman-centric romantic comedies including “Aisha” (2010), “Khoobsurat” (2014) and “Veere Di Wedding” (2018).

“There aren’t many female-led films that get made, especially mainstream movies that are made purely for entertainment. And I know why, it’s not easy,” Rhea Kapoor told Variety. “And I hope that these films empower more filmmakers to make these kinds of films because we really need them. We need that sense of joy and liberation and relief and all girls deserve to have a good time.”

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