Horror, comedy, action; mix all the genres together and the potpourri at hand is called Laxmii. Flirting with a semblance of cause in what is essentially a masala mix, at the heart of this much hyped, much awaited Akshay Kumar-starrer is an out and out commercial fare. Nothing wrong with that provided it would be an entertaining ride. To expect less or more from superstar Akshay Kumar is kind of unfair. To be fair, even though sparse, Laxmii has its fun moments. The comic tenor, especially with the spectre of ghost driving some of the family members over the wall is what drives the narrative for a while.
Akshay as Asif the man whose logical reasoning has taught him to reject the very existence of ghosts might be a tad bland. But as the man possessed by transgender spirit, he comes into his own and holds the film as best as he can. The flashes of a fine actor that he has turned out to be in the recent past can be seen in ample measure. Cameos played by Ayesha Raza Mishra and Ashwini Kalsekar as the mother-in-law-daughter-in-law duo, do keep the comic interest and some laughs going. The frightened look on their faces and the antics they deploy to get rid of the ghost are genuinely amusing And a few scenes heighten the chill factor too.
But if you think the film upholds the cause of transgender community, well, you will be thoroughly disappointed. For it perpetuates more stereotypes rather than knocking them down. Sure there is a certain emotional gravitas in the monologue delivered by the real Laxmii and Sharad Kelkar is in fine form as he points out at the discrimination meted out to transgender. But thereafter the film descends into a regular revenge saga topped by bizarre climax and even more nonsensical anti-climax. The much-touted Bam Bholle song might be high on energy but offers little solace to senses by now distraught with avalanche of blather and babble. If villains and their family are one note people reminiscent of films of yore, who would kill for pleasure, actors like Rajesh Sharma and Manu Rishi are wasted. Kiara Advani, the Hindu wife of the Muslim Asif (unnecessary Hindu-Muslim angle), too has little scope beyond looking lovely.
A horror-comic film on transgender with an actor of Akshay’s calibre ready to play the part, don the saree, clank the bangles and wear a bindi might have seemed like a brave choice on paper. But Laxmii, a remake of Tamil hit Kanchana (also directed by Lawrence), is no trendsetter and sets no benchmark whatsoever. Akshay may have tweeted ‘let’s break the gender stereotype and extend our support to the third gender’, the film does precious little. Catch it only if you have ample spare time at hand. This one streaming at Disney+Hotstar does not come with our recommendation and you can safely shut your screens to this Laxmii.
We could say watch it for Akshay but if you are a fan better revisit his Bhool Bhulaiyaa and if horror comedy is your wont, better go in for Stree.