Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kiara Advani, Rajesh Sharma, Ayesha Raza Mishra
Director: Raghava Lawrence
Laxmii was earlier titled Laxmmi Bomb, but the title offended so many sensibilities that the makers decided to change the name (while retaining their numerological superstitions). They should have changed a lot more if they cared to avoid offending our senses.
This is the kind of film where critics urge you to leave your brains at home, but how do you do that when it’s a direct to digital release and you are forced to watch it from home where you have a hundred better things to do than when you’re confined in a multiplex where your time is exclusively devoted to Akshay Kumar laughing to the bank? The opening credits song looks like a tribute to Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal tracks, and it’s a clever move to set expectations low right at the start. I mention it because it looks like the only thought that has gone into this project.
The film is not centred around a plot but around debatable comic abilities of Akshay Kumar counting on them to score at the box-office once again. Akshay is possessed by not just one but three ghosts, and manages to fail at all of them. Transgender Laxmii and her two hanger ons possess the body of Akshay to exact revenge on some villains who are so forgettable they should be forgiven if proverbs are to be respected. Asif played by Akshay and Rashmi played by a half-hearted Kiara Advani go to visit Rashmi’s parents after a three year long estrangement caused by the Hindu-Muslim marriage where the nearby ghosts inhabit the body of Akshay who acts them out in ghastly stereotypes.
Kiara looks like she’s auditioning for a part she has already bagged and doesn’t prove her worth apart from her athletic dancing in the force fitted song ‘Burj Khalifa’. Rajesh Sharma and Ayesha Raza Mishra as Kiara’s parents are the best actors of the lot even though they’re doing their worst.
There are some lazy attempts at promoting communal harmony but the laziest attempt is to empower transgenders. The graveyard that Laxmii inhabits is numbered six as a nod to the term chakka, and Akshay is forced to eat his patriarchal threat to wear bangles. However, the film tries to make you believe that Akshay Kumar playing a transgender automatically empowers them but when he’s doing it like a parody you fail to understand how it gives transgenders agency.
If you’re not the kind to care much about political correctness and would rather be appeased by silly comedy, this film is still not for you because one can hardly pick out a funny line even when one is trying to be kind this festive season. There is a crass scene where the daughter-in-law slaps the mother-in-law multiple times which is tailormade to play to the gallery and you’re glad to be away from the theatres where you would invariably hear a couple of annoying laughs. This Diwali let good sense trump over bad, don’t let this Laxmii enter your homes.