Laxmii is a horror comedy movie directed by Raghava Lawrence in his Hindi directorial debut. The movie stars Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani in title roles.
Kehna kya chahte ho?
Let me just say that movies that advertise themselves as horror movies but then the only thing that we get to see are horrible comedy and special effects are sinful to the horror genre and should literally not be made. I haven’t seen 2011’s Kanchana from which Laxmii is remade from. However, if you’re also someone who’s seeing this with a fresh pair of eyes, then my god is this a shitshow.
Laxmii’s main premise revolves around a ghost trying to exact revenge from her murderers. The ghost, Laxmi, gets into the body of Asif who then goes on a rampage to fulfil her unsatisfied desire.
Laxmii envisions to be an inclusive and LGBTQ+ positive movie which breaks barriers and is an otherwise phenomenon in the horror genre. It is none of those things. When the trailer had come out, it was in itself a painful experience. Not only was it tone-deaf in regards to the trans community, but it was also extremely weird in its tackling of gender norms and privileges. The movie doesn’t do anything different.
First of all, the comedy in this movie is just painful. It’s not funny and is anything but awkward and cringy. There’s a scene where Laxmi-possessed Asif puts his finger in a goon’s ear to make him aware of his (her?) presence. The movie is rife with scenes like these – they are just not funny, and is a very known Akshay Kumar trope. The movie, in some ways, reminded me of Bhool Bhulaiyaa, but that was in 2007. 13 years later, these things aren’t funny anymore.
The horror, on the other hand, is absolutely terrible. The CGI does not help in this regard, and it’s a mess of a few jumpscares and the same-old elements that we have seen in Bollywood time and time again. I also found inspirations from other horror movies here and there, but it’s not effective and just makes you scratch your head confusedly.
Laxmii tries to put forth various gendered issues and issues pertaining to the trans community. However, it just seems so tone-deaf throughout the movie that it’s cringy and infuriating sometimes. I am not going to get too deep into it for all of you who’d want to give this one a watch, but it’s just… it’s bad. The movie is rife with inconsistencies that do not add up to anything, neither does it take the story anywhere. The entire first half is one big exposition which doesn’t even try to be a little nuanced.
The movie is a mix of several very important and relevant topics. However, it is unable to put forth any of it properly. There’s land grabbing, inter-faith marriage, and, ofcourse, trans rights. Trying to juggle all of them, the movie can’t put forth any one properly. Oh also, Laxmii breaks into songs at the weirdest of moments, making them disconnected from the narrative. The movie is a mindless entertainer, if you’re into that sort of thing, but fails to provide anything more.
The acting in Laxmii is fine, with actors such as Rajesh Sharma, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Manu Rishi Chadha and Ashwini Kalsekar in supporting roles. All of these guys are great in the little they are provided, considering that it’s not a lot, and sticking mostly to stale comedy. Akshay Kumar is the highlight of the movie, who does well with his part, but nothing more than that. For some reason, trans woman Laxmi is played by Sharad Kelkar. I mean, if you’re trying to be a progressive movie about trans rights, probably cast a trans person as the lead? I mean, that makes sense? Or maybe that’s just me.
Summing up: Laxmii
Laxmii is a mindless entertainer that Bollywood is very famous for. It is not a horror, neither is it a good comedy. It swings in limbo in that uncomfortable position that hurts somewhere, but you just don’t know where. If you’re expecting spooks or rib-cracking fun, then this will provide neither. Well, maybe a sour taste in your mouth.
Laxmii is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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