Akshay fails to salvage a soulless film
A remake of Tamil film 'Kanchana' (2011) directed by Raghava Lawrence, 'Laxmii' stars Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani in the lead roles and is directed by Lawrence himself. Attempting a remake of one's own film can be a really daunting task and full marks to the director for taking this risk, but sadly, he failed to recreate the magic of his original.
'Laxmii' starts with Asif trying to eradicate the superstitions around ghosts, by offering scientific explanations for 'supernatural' events. But later, when this logical man eventually gives in to one such situation himself, the people are left confused as the story does not even establish what makes him change his stance so drastically. That is where the film starts to lose its plot. It makes the watchers ask as to what the film is trying to say. There is a lack of consistency in the characters and the plot.
The film has no business calling itself a horror-comedy. Neither is it particularly funny nor is it all that scary. Lawrence might as well have called it a drama. Talking of comedy, it is of such poor quality that the audience will crave some genuine laughs. As a matter of fact, the expressions of supporting characters, including Advani' sister-in-law played by Ashwini Kalsekar; her mother, played by Ayesha Raza Mishra and her brother, played by Manu Rishi Chadha, add a tinge of wit and humour. Stealing the show for a 20-minute cameo is Sharad Kelkar.
The second half does pick up when the tone shifts to revenge drama. But again, to attract attention, the violence is made to look excessively gory. Even the antagonist and the plot around him turns out to be quite dull.
There is very little evidence to support the film's claims of being empowering to the transgender community.
The last 40-minutes, however, somewhat make up for the shortcomings. Kumar's intense moves and the comfort with which he plays such an unusual character is commendable, though his performance is not enough to salvage the film.
In terms of performances, while Kumar is in full form and dependably strong, the portions in which he plays the transgender character are more impactful than his regular self. He is quite convincing as a transgender person, especially when the story highlights the neglect that the community has faced. But the film rushes through these scenes, without allowing the audience time to connect.
Advani looks gorgeous on-screen and supports Kumar's character pretty well, without ever going overboard. All in all, 'Laxmii' is a large-scale film that definitely would have invited whistles and claps in single screen theatres, but watching it on the devices, it is just about passable.