‘LAXMII’ | 10 November, 2020

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Fox Star Studios, Cape Of Good Films, Tusshar Entertainment House and Shabinaa Entertainment’s Laxmii is a horror comedy. It is a remake of Tamil film Kanchana.

Asif (Akshay Kumar) and Rashmi (Kiara Advani) are a happily married couple who have adopted Asif’s nephew because Asif’s brother and sister-in-law are no more. Rashmi’s father has not accepted Asif because he and Rashmi had eloped and gotten married. Asif has a scientific and logical bent of mind. He hates all talk of ghosts and spirits because he does not believe in ghosts. In fact, he has vowed to don the clothes of a girl and even wear bangles the day he is convinced that ghosts exist.

Rashmi’s mother invites her and Asif over to their home on the parents’ wedding anniversary, promising to make the father accept Asif. Rashmi also has a brother, Deepak (Manu Rishi Chadha) whose wife is Ashwini (Ashwini Kalsekar). They have a daughter. While at his in-laws’ home, Asif starts behaving strangely, wearing a saree in a saree shop, wearing bangles at home and generally behaving like a lady/eunuch. Soon, it turns out that Asif is possessed. It emerges that the spirit of Laxmi (Sharad Kelkar), a eunuch, has entered Asif’s body. What is the back story of Laxmi? Why is Laxmi’s spirit so restless? Does Asif help Laxmi’s soul get mukti?

Since the film is a remake of the Tamil film, the story is similar to that of the original. The story (Raghava Lawrence) about ghosts and spirits looks dated and unintentionally funny at many places. It is shoddily written as it is far from being seamless. The screenplay is penned by Raghava Lawrence, adapted screenplay is by Farhad Samji, and additional screenplay is written by Sparsh Khetarpal and Tasha Bhambra. Like the story, the screenplay also seems disjointed and does not inspire the audience’s confidence. There are various tracks, some of which are useless in the larger scheme of things. For instance, the track of Asif and Rashmi’s adopted child, and the track of non-acceptance of the son-in-law (Asif) by Rashmi’s father are some tracks which could’ve easily been deleted. In fact, there are so many tracks that the viewers get the feeling that some of them have been included just to impress them. While the drama is a horror-comedy, the horror doesn’t at all send chills down the spines of the audiences, and the comedy often falls flat on its face. Even the emotions in the second half fail to touch the heart. Besides, the screenplay is quite boring at many places. Yes, some of the turns and twists are definitely interesting and engaging, and some comic scenes do evoke laughter but once the drama starts relying on age-old customs and traditions to move forward, it almost completely loses steam. Youngsters, especially, would scoff at many of the scenes. Farhad Samji’s dialogues are good at places but ordinary at others.

Akshay Kumar looks handsome and acts with effortless ease. In the role of the woman/eunuch, he makes a fantastic mark. Kiara Advani looks pretty but gets limited scope only. She is quite nice but doesn’t really leave a great mark. Sharad Kelkar is effective as eunuch Laxmi. Rajesh Sharma is so-so as Rashmi’s father, Sachin. Ayesha Raza Mishra acts ably as Rashmi’s mother, Ratna. But she does seem to go overboard in some comedy scenes, mainly due to their poor scripting. Manu Rishi Chadha is average as Rashmi’s brother, Deepak. In the role of Ashwini, Rashmi’s sister-in-law, Ashwini Kalsekar leaves a fine mark. In a few comedy scenes, she does tend to overact but again, that’s more because the scenes lack the fun quotient. Tarun Arora is alright as Girja. Prachee Shah is miscast as Girja’s wife. She is okay in a role which gives her limited scope only. Mohd. Sarwar Mir makes his presence felt as Abdul Chacha. Aryan Prit lends average support as young Laxmi. Adhvik Mahajan (as Angad), Amika Shail (as Angad’s girlfriend), Muskan Khubchandani (as Palak) and Vinita J. (as Anjali) provide decent support. Zara (as Geeta), Grace Girdhar (as Shruti), Jason D’Souza (as Shaan), Vijay Kaushik (as Girja’s Baba), Vikas Sharma (as maulvi), Umar Khan (as maulvi 2), Vijay Jasper (as Peer Baba), Santosh Ojha (as Laxmi’s father), Gopal Verma (as Chinku), Pavitra Sarkar (as Dhongi Baba), Prashant Singh (as Kailash) and the others are adequate.

Raghava Lawrence’s direction is very average. Neither the narration nor the style are exceptional. Music (Tanishk Bagchi, Shashi-Khushi and Ullumanati) is a mixed bag. The ‘Burj Khalifa’ song (composed by Shashi-Khushi) is very good while the other songs are average. Lyrics (Vayu, Gagan Ahuja, Ullumanati and Farhad Samji) are okay. Song picturisations (by Ganesh Acharya and Bosco-Caesar) are very eye-filling. The best picturisation is of the ‘Burj Khalifa’ song. Amar Mohile’s background music is nothing to shout about. Cinematography (by Vetrivel Palanisamy, Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran and Kush Chhabria) is very good. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes are fairly exciting. Production designing (Wasiq Khan and Rajat Poddar) and art direction (Rajendra Verma) are of a decent standard. Rajesh G. Pandey’s editing leaves a lot to be desired because the film becomes slack at many places.

On the whole, Laxmii is a disappointing fare. It will not garner positive word of mouth and will, therefore, not be able to make much of a mark. Had it been released in the cinemas, it would have turned out to be a losing fare.

Released on 9-11-’20 on Disney+ Hotstar.