Laxmii: Good Message, But A Little Too Loud

Over the years Akshay Kumar has taken subjects outside the commercial arena and made them accessible within the commercial zone. For example, there is Padman where Akshay played a man who creates a machine that can make affordable sanitary pads. There is also Toilet Ek Prem Katha in which Akshay’s character has to go against the entire village and also his father in order to build a toilet for his wife. In short he has been playing the social reformer in commercial films. 

Laxmii directed by Raghava Lawrence is no different. In this film Akshay’s character is possessed by a transgender ghost who is looking for revenge. For those who do not know Laxmii is a remake of the Tamil film Kanchana directed by the same man. Just like the original it is loud and takes time to come together, but it has its heart at the right place particularly in the flashback portion. 

The basic plot in both the films is about a transgender spirit taking over an unsuspecting man to settle her scores. In the remake Akshay (Asif) and Kiara Advani play a married couple. Asif is an outsider for her family because he is a Muslim and Rajesh Sharma who plays Kiara’s father doesn’t approve of his daughter’s choice. But things take a good turn after a long time when the mother invites her daughter and son in law for a special occasion. What follows is a horror comedy, at the heart of which is societal discrimination of transgenders. 

The film takes its time to kick in and it honestly starts engaging you after Akshay’s character starts behaving as a transgender person. These portions have been well executed and here we see a totally different Akshay Kumar. It also helps that Akshay plays this part with gay abandon and embraces the character whole heartedly. Earlier also we have had actors playing transgender roles like Paresh Rawal in Tamanna but it makes a huge difference when you have an A list actor playing this role as it reaches a wider audience. 

However the film’s biggest strength is its flashback episodes where we see Sharad Kelkar playing Laxmii. Sharad is extraordinary. Even if he is not there for a long time he does complete justice to it. Through his role Raghava Lawrence effectively portrays the message that he wants to deliver. 

The climax although loud is still satisfying. The entire dance sequence of Bambole has been done with lot of enthusiasm and the different dance steps are interesting to watch. The one thing that is particularly admirable is the energy of Akshay Kumar. You feel happy when Laxmii gets her revenge with many transgender people cheering on. 

The comedy track of Ayesha Raza and Ashwini Kaleskar (mother and sister in law of Kiara Advani’s character) belongs to the loud category but it still works better than the romantic angle of Akshay and Kiara. 

What would have made the film better are the initial portions. The conflict point of why Rajesh Sharma doesn’t accept Akshay has not been explored and after a point it is pushed to the background. In fact the entire track of Rajesh Sharma is disappointing. But Kiara’s character is more so. She is the biggest weak link in Laxmii. She doesn’t have a lot to do but even in the scenes where she could have done something she disappoints. It looks like she is still stuck in the Kabir Singh zone. 

For a film like this suspension of belief is very necessary particularly if you have not seen the original. There will be scenes where you will think about the lack of rationality.  In totality, Laxmii is one of those commercial entertainers which has its heart in the right place. It delivers an important message about respecting transgenders and treating them as fellow human beings.

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