The promotions of the movie Laxmii starring Akshay Kumar in the lead role had this theme of the movie being an effort to bring transgender people to the forefront of society. Well when it comes to the impact part of that idea, I would say it is similar to the sanitary pad ad featuring Akshay Kumar that comes at the beginning of the movies. People will get the message, but with zero emotional impact. This Kanchana remake from Raghava Lawrence has only small aesthetic tweaks from the outdated original and along with an utterly bad performance from the hero as the ghost possessed character, Laxmii is a tedious watch.
Aasif and Rashmi are married to each other and because Aasif is a Muslim, Rashmi’s father never accepted their marriage. Aasif is someone who works against the myths in our society such as pseudo babas and the concept of ghosts. On the 25th wedding anniversary of Rashmi’s parents, her mother asks them to come to their house to put an end to all the drama. But that plan takes another turn when Aasif gets possessed by the ghost of a transgender named Laxmii.
The broad stroke writing that we see in commercial movies was one of the major reasons I never liked the Kanchana/Muni franchise. The only thing that felt somewhat appreciable was the energy carried by Raghava Lawrence in being the central character. In the case of Laxmii, even that bit is not there. The rewritten version of Lawrence’s original story now has the hero being a Muslim married man who isn’t afraid of ghosts. In the original, the character was a bachelor who was afraid of ghosts. After toilets and sanitary pads this time Akshay Kumar is giving us a lecture about pseudo babas and the whole business surrounding the superstitions. Ironically the movie that began showing us a hero who talks against all the black magic and stuff ends up being a tool that affirms such stuff could well be true.
A ghost that wants to take someone’s life in order to attain emancipation is one story we all know. The only thing that made Raghava Lawrence’s Kanchana a unique one was the transgender angle. But by using annoying senseless comedy throughout the film, he kind of ruined the possibility of the film being a commendable effort. Here also we can see the same thing happening. The much talked about Burj Khalifa song and two other songs are popping out of nowhere without any sense of relevance. The way Burj Khalifa song is introduced in Laxmii shows the way the makers have taken the audience for granted. Then the horror-comedy starts to happen, which pretty honestly is no longer funny and looks more like a routine thing. Some of the fresh tweaks they have brought to this Hindi version are getting some silly closures. The cinematography by Vetri Palanisamy and Kush Chhabria which mostly has CCTV-like angles is occasionally flat and sometimes excessively dramatic.
Akshay Kumar performs pretty much in the same way in most of his commercial outings and I was hoping to see a bit of an effort from his part in playing the impersonation of a transgender person with a little more grace. But apart from folding the saree fleets, there wasn’t anything good about the performance of Akshay Kumar as Laxmii. The performance of him as Laxmii and Aasif in the climax bit is almost like an unintentional comedy. When we see someone like Sharad Kelkar playing the same part in a more sensible way, we sort of get to measure the level of mediocrity in Kumar’s performance. Like any other Raghava Lawrence movie, the leading lady, played by Kiara Advani has hardly anything to do here rather than looking stunning in good clothes. Aysha Raza Mishra is playing the Kovai Sarala equivalent role in Laxmii and even though it wasn’t any great, it never felt as annoying as the Tamil version. Talented artists like Ashwini Kalsekar and Rajesh Sharma are simply wasted in roles that were written so badly.
There are so many things that look heavily outdated in Laxmii even if you try to lower your expectations considering it as a festival release movie. The template of the preachy pot-boiler has gone through a massive update in the last three or four years and a predictable story like Laxmii with dull treatment and mediocre performances is not something the audience would accept easily. Looking at the final output, I feel the name Laxmii Bomb was the apt one.
Laxmii has only small aesthetic tweaks from the outdated original, and along with the utterly bad performance from the hero as the ghost possessed character, Laxmii is a tedious watch.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended