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Thank U Vitthala review: A devotional film that takes absurdity to another level

Release Date: 03 Nov 2017 / Rated: U/A / 01hr 42min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The weak story, poor VFX, and lost actors together have set a new benchmark for absurdity, as far as modern devotional films are concerned.

Directors Pravin Tarde and Pranit Kulkarni’s Deool Band set a new benchmark for absurdity in 2015, as far as modern devotional films are concerned. It had seemed as if reaching this level would be a mammoth task. But Devendra Shivaji Jadhav’s Thank U Vitthala achieves the feat with flying colours. 

Seldom does a film put you in a quandary as to where and how to start describing the experience of watching it.

This reviewer, though, shall make an attempt. So, we have a dabba wala from Mumbai named Hari (Makarand Anaspure). He has major issues with lord Vitthal but keeps worshipping the deity and, for reasons best known to him, even greets everyone with ‘Shri Hari’ and has named his kid Vitthal. Hari is not happy with how some people have everything in life, while others, like him, have to struggle for every little thing. 

One would think his biggest wish is be to become a rich man, so that his wife and child live a happy life. But that's not all.

He aspires not only to have a beautiful and loving wife, but also a mistress, just like the owner of the company where he delivers tiffin. He is upset with the god for the want of a mistress and the audience is expected to sympathize with his needs. Also, the owner of the said company has no qualms about putting his reputation at stake by loudly romancing with his mistress over phone, despite knowing that Hari is listening. 

Hari and his wife are constantly fighting, using lines straight out of the forward messages and memes that we have already exhausted. One night, she throws him out of the house on realizing that he has stolen money from their piggie bank. The immediate disowning is a bit hard to digest.

Angry, he goes to a nearby temple and gives a earful to lord Vitthal, referencing Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic temple scene in Deewar, as if that could help the drama. 

What happens next? Lord Vitthal himself make an appearance (How we wish it were so easy).

The Lord asks him what he needs and Hari demands a life similar to that of the company owner. Lord Vitthal grants his wish, but with a caveat — post the change, Hari won’t remember that he is actually Hari (seriously?). He soon realizes his mistake and tries committing suicide by jumping off a building. The jumping VFX is noteworthy, it would surprise even the amateur animators.

But, lo and behold, Hari is saved. He then demands the life of Maharashtra’s agricultural minister. But this time, he wants to remember his identity too.

Thank U Vitthala continues with this absurd turn of events until the very last frame. To add to the audiences' misery, one of the main characters in the film is appointed as the new Yamraj (the god of death) followed by a trip to purgatory (Yamlok). No prizes for guessing the VFX quality here. We also have an age-old lord Brahma  — a young boy with moustache and beard stuck on his face. 

Now, you must be wondering that if Hari was living different lives, who was living his own life in the meanwhile? Any guesses? Lord Vitthal himself. 

The god impersonates Hari all this while and lives with his wife and child. We are relieved the wife had no apetite for romance.

Coming to the casting, Manjrekar appears as unfit to play lord Vitthal as Shraddha Kapoor was for Haseena Parkar, both in terms of physicality and persona. However, the rest of the actors have fared so badly (blame it on the content) that Manjrekar’s act appears mature.

Anaspure gets to play quite a few characters, but he is mostly lost. He scores the most as the minister.

The kid who plays Anaspure’s son, Vitthal, is the only one who has given a noteworthy performance. 

In the end, you just end up saying ‘Thank U Vitthala’ as you move out.