Laxmii movie review: It’s 2020. New laws have been made, campaigns have been designed, discussions have happened, protests have shaped up and awareness continues to be spread. Then why does the transgender community still fight for its existence? Why are they still persecuted? Raghava Lawrence-directed Laxmii, which is now streaming on Disney+Hotstar, attempts to ask these right questions but fails to let the audience seek their answers. Also Read - Heelein Toot Gayi: Ahead of Song Release, Kiara Advani Glints Internet With Her Surreal Beauty in Sequin Saree
The film is set in a world that is superstitious but not entirely fictional. It is about a man named Asif who is possessed by the ghost of three people, one of them is a trans woman named Laxmi who was brutally killed by a businessman and now, with the help of Asif, she is set to take revenge. So if there’s revenge, a ghost, a man who’s being possessed, then there has to be a ‘poonam ki raat‘, a ‘maata ka mandir’, and a ‘baba‘ who’s expert in warding off the evil spirits. Laxmii has all of it but as we said, it’s 2020, and had the audience wanted to see a movie by the Ramsay Brothers, Disney+Hotstar would already have them added to its library. That’s not the real problem though. Mainstream Bollywood had trained the audience to accept illogical a long time back. The problem is in portraying a transgender woman as awkwardly loud and scary even from Bollywood’s standards of presenting ghosts. Also Read - Durgamati Trailer: Bhumi Pednekar Impresses in This Not-so-Scary Drama With a Haunted Haveli, Wandering Soul And Political Conspiracy
Why do our writers fear writing trans characters that look absolutely common, normal? How can their fight for equality be justified when they continue to be stereotyped on-screen? With Akshay’s brand of cinema, there’s so much that can be done and that’s why Laxmii disappoints more. The hero here is not just a star but a very fine actor as well who seems effortless in every character he plays. He slips into being Laxmi from Asif with just a tiny smirk and you know what’s coming next but that talent seems undermined and underutilised. With huge dark circles, a giant red bindi, hair strands covering the face, and a curvy walk, the makers leave out no single stereotype that makes a man look effeminate. It’s almost as if the makers asked Akshay to do his regular action on-screen, only this time wearing a saree. Also Read - Durgamati Motion Poster Out: Bhumi Pednekar is Ready For 'Payback Time', Trailer To Release Tomorrow
Kiara Advani, who plays Asif’s wife, looks pretty in her colourfully selected camis and denim combo. The woman who steals the show though is Ashwini Kalsekar. She’s quirky, spontaneous, and totally capable of making you laugh. Her chemistry with another brilliant actor in the film, Ayesha Raza, makes one wonder why they don’t have more female comedians in movies these days!
In a scene, Laxmi asks a goon why transgender people aren’t considered to be equal even when they have been officially recognised as the third gender. Here’s the answer: because we are still incapable of seeing a transgender woman beyond her red saree and an unusually big bindi.
Watch Laxmii for Sharad Kelkar though!