Director: Raghava Lawrence
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kiara Advani
Streaming on: Disney + Hotstar
Many attempts have been made in Hindi cinema to make a horror-comedy. But only Priyadarshan’s chilling & hilarious Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) and Amar Kaushik’s sleeper-hit Stree (2018) come to mind while counting the good ones. A lot of buzz is created around Raghava Lawrence’s Laxmii – remake of his own Tamil film Kanchana (2011). In Laxmii, Akshay Kumar plays Asif, a granite trader cum activist who busts myths about ghosts and superstitions.
Laxmii (previously Laxmmi Bomb) has got many eyeballs because of Akshay Kumar playing a transgender in the film. It turns out, his character Asif gets possessed by the ghost of a transgender Laxmii, who was murdered mercilessly to hijack her plot. A lot of activism is focused on Trans Lives Matter for the past few years. One expected a more profound film on addressing the topic, especially when a Bollywood superstar is headlining the project.
But Laxmii is a superficial movie that revolves around ghosts, more superstitions, and tantra-mantra. It has the done and dusted plot of a merciless murder. The victim not being able to go on the journey after death till he/she takes revenge. Do we need a ghost to tell humans to behave like humans with fellow humans?
Ghost would have still been fine, had the film been effective (example, Stree). A lousy screenplay, unfunny dialogue, usual horror elements of jump scare, ear-piercing background music make Laxmii an unbearable 140-odd minute long watch.
Writer Farhad Samji and actor Akshay Kumar seem to be hung-over from their Housefull 4 jobs. Kumar’s transition from Asif to being possessed by Laxmii, doing feminine mannerisms is cringe-worthy. At least, this part of Kumar acting like Laxmii should have been done more gracefully. Because you’re trying to voice a case for transgender people who have lived their life in shame and adversities only known to them.
Watch the trailer of Laxmii:
The film’s only watchable part comes when Laxmii’s back story is revealed and enacted well by Sharad Kelkar. The supporting cast consisting of otherwise dependable actors in Rajesh Sharma, Ayesha Raza, Ashwini Kalsekar and Manu Rishi ham their way alongside their main lead. Kiara Advani appears in two songs and a couple of sequences. That’s about it.
The most horrible thing in the film is the ‘situation’ created to add a song to the narrative. Thankfully, the OTT streaming platforms have the facility to press fast forward. The camera moves from every angle possible, a staple for many action-adventure films coming from Southern India and their Hindi remakes. The only watchable song is the spectacularly shot and performed Bam Bholle in the climax.
It is funny how a film aimed at busting taboos and superstitions had Laxmi’s spelling changed quite a few times for numerological reasons. What could have been a more human, profound film within the same context and genre as Laxmii has been reduced to a gimmicky project.