Since the lockdown happened, many feature length films, that were initially scheduled for a theatrical release, started coming out on digital streaming platforms. The Akshay Kumar – Kiara Advani starrer is, perhaps, the biggest release so far on an OTT platform in this lockdown season. Earlier titled ‘Laxxmi Bomb’, the film is an official remake of the Tamil film ‘Kanchana’ which released in the year 2011. Like the original, this film has been also helmed by director Raghava Lawrence.
Asif (Akshay Kumar) and Rashmi (Kiara Advani) have been married for a couple of years. With a loving husband like Asif and Shaan (Jason D’Souza), the son of Asif’s elder brother and sister-in-law who passed away in an accident who is almost like a son to her, Rashmi’s family seems complete. Rashmi, however, misses her parents, especially her father, who stopped speaking to her because she got married to Asif, who happens to be a Muslim. Rashmi cheers up when she gets a call from her mother asking them to come down to their place as they will be celebrating their 25th marriage anniversary. Asif, Rashmi and Shaan head to Daman where Rashmi’s parents live. There is a sprawling house and a huge property, closer to where Rashmi’s parents live, which is said to be haunted. Asif is somebody who does not believe in ghosts and have even exposed some fake Godmen and ghostbusters in the past. He takes Shaan and some other children in the neighbourhood to play cricket. Asif indulges in some activities which leads him towards being possessed by Laxmii’s spirit.
Some of the key incidents in the film happen in the first 15-20 minutes and that helps in familiarising the viewer with the overall setup quickly and getting their involved with the proceedings in the film. Just like the original, director Raghava Lawrence has given this film an over-the-top visual treatment. Given the storyline, certain portions needed to be filmed a little more realistically. Heightened drama works at many places and there are parts where you wish it had been toned down a little. The first half moves at a fast pace and as a viewer, you keenly look forward to what will happen next. The second half has several exciting moments but the drama dips at certain points. The flashback portion, which gives one a glimpse into Laxmii’s life and background, is nice but could have been a little more elaborate so that one could relate to or empathise with the character better. The climax sequence is visually appealing but had the protagonist faced more hurdles while making the evildoers pay for what they did, it would have been far more exciting.
Akshay Kumar delivers a very fine performance. He is excellent in the comic portions, subdued when required and plays the part of a man who is possessed by a transgender with finesse. Kiara Advani has wonderful screen presence and performs well within the scope she gets. Sharad Kelkar is terrific as Laxmii. There was a risk of going overboard with a character like this but he brings out the various facets of Laxmii quite effortlessly and in the right measures. From the supporting cast, Ashwini Kalsekar and Ayesha Raza Mishra get a couple of good comical scenes and perform very well. The parts of the antagonists, played by Tarun Arora, Prachee Shah Pandya and others, could have etched out much better.
The songs are largely ineffective, except for ‘Burjkhalifa’ which is a sonic and visual delight. All the songs have been forced into the narrative and could have been easily done away with. Amar Mohile’s background score amps up the drama and humour in the film well. The camerawork (Vetrivel Palaniswamy and Kush Chhabria) is very good. The action sequences (Sham Kaushal) could have been far more exciting.
‘Laxmii’ is a highly entertaining fare and would work very well for those who enjoy watching horror comedies. The plot gets predictable at times but the fast-paced narrative and the energy of its leading actor make this a good film to invest your time in.