There has been a lot written about Lawrence Raghavendra’s Laxmii in the past few months. First there was a controversy around the release of the film on OTT vs Cinema Halls. Ultimately, it got released on Hotstar Multiplex. Just before the release, they renamed the film from Laxmii Bomb to Laxmii because of controversy.
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The film released just after the controversial tide of Sushant Singh Rajput’s mysterious death had subsided. Akshay Kumar’s fans were looking forward to watching a horror-comedy film with power-packed performance from their favourite actor. However, they were in for a huge surprise when another actor stole his thunder.
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Read on to know DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter’s honest review of Laxmii:
Sharad Kelkar enters the film after about 1 hour and 40 minutes and the wait is worthwhile! Watch Laxmii only for him!
For the uninitiated, Laxmii is a remake of the Tamil Film Muni 2: Kanchana (2011). Laxmii has been directed by Lawrence Raghavendra with Balakrishan Thevar as the co-director. The screenplay and dialogues are by Farhad Samji.
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The Plot of Laxmii:
A modern Muslim boy, Asif (Akshay Kumar) lives in the city with his pretty wife, Rashmi (Kiara Advani). They have an unnecessary kid, Asif’s nephew living with them. There is no significance of this child in the original plot. About 25-30 minutes are wasted in establishing the characters. Asif’s profession is unknown, and he seems to be operating alone as an investigator of spirits and ghosts. Though they live in the city, the scene where he exposes a fake Baba are shot in a village. The movie slowly meanders towards the main plot. After what seems like eternity, the story begins when Rashmi’s mother, invites them to attend their 25th anniversary celebrations. They enter the home and a few comedy scenes later, Rashmi’s father accepts Asif. By this time, Laxmii has entered Asif’s body and suddenly there are two more ghosts apart from Laxmii that emerge.
Laxmii murders two people and then reveals her story to a peer Baba called in by Rashmi’s mother. She reveals how she her adoptive father and brother were killed by the MLA Girija, his wife and sons.
After hearing Laxmii’s story, Asif secretly allows Laxmii to use his body to take revenge. At this point all the characters of the film magically disappear and then its just a crowd of transgenders with drums and Asif who then avenges Laxmii’s death through a series of VFX-filled unique ways of delivering death.
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The upside of Laxmii
Rashmi’s bhabhi, Ashwini (Ashwini Kalsekar) and her mother Ratna, (Ayesha Raza Mishra) offer comic relief with some nicely delivered performances. In the silliest of scenes, one continues to watch just because these two ladies lift the film on their able shoulders.
The surprise entry of Sharad Kelkar is undoubtedly the best part of the film. Right from his entry to his death, Sharad carries the character of Laxmii with panache. He is far better than Akshay Kumar both in dialogue delivery and performance. However, since he is not as marketable as Akshay he has been hidden in during the film promotions. He is the only reason why one should watch Laxmii. His character evokes respect for transgenders and he successfully delivers the message of equality in society.
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The downside of Laxmii
Akshay Kumar needs to realise that he is aging and how! He must step down and allow the newer generation to take over. The song sequences where he is wooing Kiara look really weird. He has hammed his way through the entire movie. One may even feel that at some junctures in the film he has tried to ape Ranveer Singh’s performance in Padmavat. Akshay’s version, however is full of ham.
The climax song is a bad rip off of the Khalli Balli song from Padmavat and it does nothing for uplifting the film. Why a transgender would suddenly do a rap song is inexplicable.
Kiara Advani needs to lose weight around her tummy if she is going to wear clothes that are meant to accentuate her mid-riff. She also needs to undertake acting classes and learn to deliver a convincing scene. Her role is decorative and any other actress could have played this role.
A story must have a villain and he must be convincing as one. He must evoke hatred and thus when good triumphs over evil the audience goes home, happily. However, the villain in this film is the most badly written character. The entire crowd around him – his wife, security guards and both sons are mere props in the film. There is nothing impactful about any of them. The main villain, MLA Girija (Tarun Arora) is introduced in the film in a matter-of-fact manner. He doesn’t have a single scene or dialogue that allows him to display his acting prowess. As a villain, he fails to evoke hatred or fear in the audience’s heart. Therefore, this doesn’t lead to the justification of the climax.
Prachee Shah Paandya plays Girija’s wife is a mere prop in the film with a couple of unnecessary lines. Girija’s sons also fail to leave an impact.
- The father, Rajesh Sharma looks 60; the mother, looks 55. Their son, Deepak (Manu Rishi Chadha) and daughter-in-law, Ashwini look atleast 35 years old, they have a 9-10-year-old-daughter (again insignificant to the plot). Akshay Kumar looks atleast 40 years old and Kiara Advani looks 25 years old. One wonders how it’s the 25th anniversary of the old couple especially since the ages just don’t match.
- Akshay and Kiara are invited for the silver wedding anniversary however, there is no scene in the film that shows them celebrating the event.
- The time gap between Laxmii’s death and entering into Asif’s body are not defined – therefore the audience is unable to piece the sequence of events.
- MLA Girija kills 3 people and gets them buried in an open ground – how is it that no one saw them?
- Why did MLA Girija’s wife have to kill Laxmii with her own hands, in their own home? Couldn’t it have been done in a better manner?
- Later they exhume the three bodies and transport them as if it were a child’s play – don’t bodies rot after they are buried? What about the smell? What about the police?
- Laxmii enters Asif’s body and randomly goes and kills one man. He doesn’t appear in the film before and one is left wondering what’s happening.
- The disputed plot for which the entire drama was done, lay empty. If it was such an important piece of land for which 3 murders took place, why was it still barren?
- Laxmii murders Girija’s first son in an empty factory and there is no explanation as to why he is there. Noone seems to miss him at his place – there is no search party sent nor a missing complaint filed.
- Laxmii murders the second son in a 5-star hotel and there is no investigation into the same. Why didn’t anyone notice? What about CCTV cameras? Where was the police?
- The climax takes place on the beach where over 500 transgenders are making a lot of noise with huge drums and deafening shouts. Why does not awaken the law authorities?
- The last scene in the film, within 3 months an entire building that looks atleast 5 years old has been built – magic??
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Before the interval, Ashwini and Ratna lift the film on their shoulders and after the interval its Sharad Kelkar who is a saving grace of the film.
Portrayal of women in Laxmii
There is a wave of good quality programming that has hit India in the recent times and OTT platforms have given the audiences a taste of how powerful women roles can be displayed convincingly on the screen.
Laxmii’s writers have failed miserably while writing the women characters in the film. There is a mother-in-law who drinks for some unknown reason. All the positive, principal women characters in the film are loud and over the top. The lady who kills Laxmii is unusually quiet and could have been played by a mannequin.
While adapting the screenplay the writer should have taken into consideration that times have changed and modern Indian cinema makes money on realistic portrayal of women.
E.g. Its Rashmi and Asif’s wedding anniversary and she gets super excited just by seeing the words Happy Anniversary written on random objects. Even giggly teenagers don’t behave like that.
In a film that aims to deliver a powerful message about treatment of transgenders, the role of women has been dismally minimised. Not a single woman character in the film has been done justice to. It seems like the writer and director spent all their time in writing Akshay’s role and desperately tried to make it better.
It’s disheartening to see that despite having such an amazingly talented woman cast, the writer and director failed to do justice to them. Writing has changed and so have audience demands, the writer and director should have realised that.
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Portrayal of the mentally ill boy and Abul Chacha in Laxmii
How cliche could it get? A Muslim single man, adopts a transgender Hindu child and he also has a mentally ill child already living with him. His profession is unknown, but he happily accepts the entry of one more transgender into his happy family. There is zero explanation or justification given to the audience for this. They completely ignore the daily societal struggle of this unique family. When such a unique family suddenly disappears, no one seems to miss them.
The mentally ill boy’s portrayal is beyond unreal. His death scene is a mockery of all mentally ill patients in the world. What was the writer even thinking?
DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter’s Verdict: 2/5
This is the first time that we have delivered such a low rating for a movie. Watch at your own risk.
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