‘Laxmii’ Movie Review: Akshay Kumar disappoints as a transgender in this squandered opportunity of a horror-comedy

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Directed By
Raghava Lawrence

Produced By
Fox Star Studios, Cape of Good Films, Shabinaa Entertainment, Tushar Entertainment House

Akshay Kumar, Kiara Advani, Sharad Kelkar, Rajesh Sharma, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Manu Rishi Chadha, Ashwini Kalsekar, Tarun Arora, Aryan Preet, Muskaan Khubchandani, Prachee Shah Paandya, Biju Antony, Mir Sarwar

Bollywood Bubble Rating
Laxmii Movie Review
What’s It About
Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani have fleed and gotten hitched. As Akshay is Muslim, Kiara’s dad disowns both of them. After 3 years for a 25 years wedding anniversary, Kiara’s mom invited her and Akshay to their home finally. However, they are confronted by a Ghost who stays in a neighbouring plot. How that ghostly spirit enters Akshay Kumar’s body and how it transforms him from a man to a transgender is all that the story is about. Will Akshay be able to get back to his real self ever? Is there something that the spirit wants to do staying in Akshay’s body? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch the movie.

What’s Hot
When Sharad Kelkar enters the movie pretty much 30-minutes before the movie pumps up and that’s when you’re pulled up from your slumber. And trust me, he has just a 15 mins sequence and maybe around 10 mins of screen time, and that’s the best part about the whole movie. While there has been enormous hype about how well Akshay Kumar has played a transgender in the movie, it’s actually Sharad Kelkar whose performance as a transgender seems more real, more honest and more believable. Kudos to you man for stealing the show in such a short time.

The soundtrack of the movie by Tanishk Bagchi, Shashi–DJ Khushi, Anup Kumar and Ullumanati is decent. Songs like Burj Khalifa and Bum Bholle stick on to you even after you’ve turned off your screens.

‘Laxmii’ is one of the very few films whose editing, by Rajesh G. Pandey, is on point. Even though the storyline drags a lot and you’re left wondering as to why you’re watching this, the editing seemed crisp, and baring a few unnecessary songs, there was hardly anything that seemed that it could have been chopped off the screen time.

What’s Not
Akshay Kumar is without a doubt carrying the entire film on his shoulders, but he didn’t have to! His performance in comedy genres is usually always on point, but this time, he was not only hamming but even the punchlines seemed a lot forced. I can’t believe that after a long time, a performance by Akshay Kumar has disappointed me so much. There was so much more that could have been explored. It could have been an equally good horror-comedy like a ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’ or a ‘Stree’, but somehow, in the first 15 -minutes it suddenly went off track and things just seemed to be forced onto the star and comedy-prowess of Akshay Kumar. Sadly, it didn’t do the trick.

Kiara Advani was barely there. To add to it, she seems to have put on oodles of weight for the character and then lost a lot of it just in order to turn the hotness quotient up in the Burj Khalifa song. We have seen her give far better performances in films like ‘Good Newwz’ or ‘Guilty’ where he character did have a lot of meat and she got a chance to show off her acting skills. Sadly, this was not one of those films.

The supporting cast, comprising of stellar actors like Rajesh Sharma, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Manu Rishi Chadha, Ashwini Kalsekar, Mir Sarwar is totally put to waste. I couldn’t believe my eyes that someone like Rajesh Sharma barely had 10 lines in the entire film. Manu Rishi Chadha had about 4-5 lines. Even Ayesha and Ashwini who had a bit more scenes and lines written for them, seem to have been forced to elicit comedy out of some drab lines. They put in their heart and soul into the performance (which at many times borderlines on hamming) but yet aren’t able to get in more than 2 laughs out of the viewers. Pathetic!

To rub insult to all of this is the screenplay of the movie which is filled with forced comic punch lines which even the youth would know from the million WhatsApp forwards. Nothing innovative! It can be either of the following two. Firstly, director, Raghava Lawrence lost the plot while remaking the movie for the Hindi masses and in order to compensate for that, he used much-used comic punches of Farhad Samji to build in some more interest for the Hindi-speaking masses. Or secondly, he had a script in his mind, but with the inclusion of big superstars and big budgets, the script went off the window, and things started happening as per the convenience of the cast-crew who knew much better about the taste of the Hindi-speaking audience. For all you know, it could be the second scenario, as we all remember how Raghava Lawrence walked out of the movie 2 days after the shoot and only when he was given the freedom to do things his way, did he return. No one knows what happened, and it will be great to know from the horse’s mouth as to where he lost the plot. This is nowhere close to his own masterpiece ‘Kanchana’ or its subsequent sequels.

The cinematography of the movie by Vetri Palanisamy and Kush Chhabria is so unidimensional that it seems anyone could have shot the scenes. The indoor scenes clearly didn’t need much of innovation, but considering it was also supposed to be scary, there had to be some more ways how the DOP department could have instilled the fear inside you. However hard they tried, they fell flat on their faces.

Lastly, there are sub-plots in the scripts which the story leaves untold, and you would be hoping that at the end these will get justified and you’ll get closure, but sadly it never happens, and you’re left hanging for the rest of your life.

Possibly one of the worst south remakes I’ve seen in a really long time. Possibly one of the worst to have come up from the stable of Akshay Kumar, who is known for raising the standards in every possible genre of films. Thank god it went straight to OTT and didn’t release in theatres otherwise there would have been a massacre among the theatre owners as the theatres would start getting empty after an initial couple of days, leaving the entire festive season as a dry spell at the box-office. Akshay, as a huge fan of yours, I expected a lot better. I am going with 1.5 stars.

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