Dear Akshay Kumar
We live in strange times, don’t we?
Whoever thought we’d be watching a big star’s new film at home on a small screen?
On the other hand, boy, did you get lucky.
Because there are certain films that would have run empty in the theatres.
And streaming is a face saver.
Laxmii is one such film.
But believe me, the captive audience of the OTT platform will be in deep slumber by the time Asif takes revenge for Laxmii.
I know I had to be woken up several times before that terrible climax in the temple.
It is laudatory to bring to the fore the transgender cause.
But Akshay, did you have to say ‘Yes’ to this mess that tries to say too many things? Your writer-director Raghava Lawrence still lives in the 70s.
Comedy is in a kid calling the elders by their names, a trait that’s soon forgotten. Comedy is two brothers-in-law trading insults at the dining table for no apparent reason. Comedy is in exaggerated reactions from a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law to the ghost in the house. And comedy has the mother-in-law hitting the bottle for Dutch courage.
Lawrence sets out to promote Hindu-Muslim harmony but does it in his unpalatable ancient style. If he wants to show a Hindu-Muslim marriage where only the Hindu father is miffed, go ahead.
But after daughter Rashmi has brought home husband Asif, why does the father frown at her wanting to make tea for him and smile at Asif? What does Asif do for the father to have a sudden change of heart?
In this worn-out writing, why can’t the father get his own cup of tea anyway?
The change in Asif when he turns into Laxmii and wants to wear a saree is nicely done in the saree shop.
But how I wish the rest of the film was just as fluid.
The mix of comedy and horror neither brings on the laughs nor prompts the shivers.
Entertainment hits a low when Lawrence rewinds to the story of Laxmii. Once again, Hindus are cruel to transgender children and turn them out of the house while only an Abdul Chacha shelters and raises them.
For exorcism, the temple priest throws his hands up. But a Pir Baba and his team are stronger.
With neither melodious music nor refreshing dialogues, Sharad Kelkar’s preachy presence as Laxman turned Laxmi is like a sleeping pill.
Akshay, I do applaud your performance as Asif and as Laxmii. It wasn’t easy to do and you pulled it off with ease. As for the rest, was Kiara Advani really in the film? I saw more of the likeable Ashwini Kalshekar than the heroine.
Also, the transgender cause really needed a boost. This government did it when it recognised it as a third gender. Unfortunately, you needed a better script. A tiresome film like Laxmii can’t do justice to transgenders or to communal harmony.
Better luck next time, Akshay.
Bharathi S Pradhan