Laxmii poster featuring Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani (Source: Twitter @foxstarhindi)
As is the adage, if a film climaxes well, the job is indeed done. That's what the core strength of Laxmii is, which has a superb hold up towards the climax, what with the last 40 minutes turning out to be the best part of this horror film which has drama being even better than the comedy factor that was inherent to the narrative. Yes, the lighter moments work too, especially the ones featuring Akshay Kumar. However, it’s the coming together of the horror and drama portions which turns out to be the key strength of the movie.
The good part is that director Raghava Lawrence sets the horror stage well right at the beginning. Of course, there are the usual tropes, what with a young girl alone in a bungalow with the crackling sound of the doors and a laal dupatta hanging around. However, when treated well, this works well time and again. So what if a tapori song filmed around Akshay Kumar as the opening credits roll is entirely forced; you look forward to the mayhem that will be unleashed once he along with his wife Kiara Advani step into an adjacent bungalow, next to the disputed land, soon enough. There are kaale baadal all around, well, literally, and then the wait begins for the drama to unfold.
Surprisingly though, the film retains a lot of focus on the comedy elements. This is the reason why when the portions featuring Ashwini Kalsekar and Ayesha Raza seem to be a bit overdone, you wonder when would the real horror and thrills begin, and what would be that point in the film when you would get at least a hint of why there is a bhatakti aatma disturbing the entire household.
This is the reason why the interval point holds a lot of attention as the film reaches a point where you know that there won’t be any looking back. Yes, humour again returns to the proceedings for the first few minutes at the start of the second half as well. However, once Akshay Kumar gets fully possessed, Laxmii comes in great form. The flashback portion soon after turns out to be truly remarkable with Sharad Kelkar enacting a truly powerful character and his own flashback turns out to be even more impressive.
However, one has to wait for the film's extended pre-climax and the climax to gauge the potential that it carries. Other than the fact that it is highly entertaining, what with the song ‘Bum Bhole’ being truly volatile, it is Akshay Kumar’s superb act which is the highlight of the show. He simply gets into the transgender character of Laxmii and aces the horror portions as well. One has to look at his sheer walk and body language to realise how he has totally got into the skin of the character.
Another actor who does that fabulously is Sharad Kelkar. In one of the meatiest characters enacted by him for camera, he is excellent in both dramatic as well as emotional scenes. As for Kiara Advani, she has a job to do, which is to ensure that ‘Burj Khalifa’ is seen many times over, and in that aspect she get complete marks.
Even Laxmii could have got full marks had the horror and dramatic portions more than some extended comedy scenes featuring the family members in the first half. Nonetheless, as a whole, this entertainer by producers Tusshar Kapoor and Shabina Khan really works. Moreover there is a message too in there. Considering that this is also the biggest movie till date to have premiered straight on the over-the-top (OTT) medium, rest assured it would turn out to be a bountiful affair for Disney+ Hotstar.