By Diya Barmecha
Laxmii starring Akshay Kumar has faced a long road of hardships before being introduced to viewers on 9th November on Disney+Hotstar. The movie, formerly called, movie Laxmmi Bomb is a remake of the original 2011 Tamil version called Kanchana. Both movies are directed by Raghava Lawrence.
The film had to halt shooting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Amidst all this confusion the film has had its own boycott movement by net citizens on twitter. This movement caused the team to change the title of the film to Laxmii. Several Hindu groups disliked the name and claimed that it was “hurting religious sentiments’ ‘ because of using a derogatory term like bomb with the name of a Hindu goddess. The director thought the name “Laxmmi Bomb” fit the movie perfectly as it was was saying that “a dhamaka of Laxmmi Bomb cannot be missed”. He further explained that the transgender lead character is radiant and strong which is why the name fits perfectly.
The transgender coommunity has only been recently recognised and their struggle is still present and evident. It is one thing to be recognised on paper by the government. But it is a whole different story to earn the respect accepted in the real world. This was reiterated in the film by the portrayal of Laxmi (Sharad Kelkar). The message of the movie is quite clear. They want love and acceptance for all transgenders. They call for equal opportunities and they want a chance to make their country proud, just like anyone else. This horror-comedy film also incorporates light humor to keep their viewers entertained. It goes on to engage its audience with a slight aspect of horror. Despite my opinion of it being a movie that I greatly enjoyed, there are many that feel it “was a waste of time”.
In a review posted by The Indian Express, it said, “Somewhere deep inside the mess that’s Laxmii, is the kernel of a solid idea: to give us the story of a transgender person, with empathy and sympathy.” They are criticizing the movie for being the first to have a star like Akshay Kumar play a transgender, something we thought we would never see. Although the movie may not show a trangender as a main character of the movie and say lines like “they clap their hands’. By demonstrating what they actually are helps us understand them. Although they may be “different” they should be respected for what they are. The movie highlights things that are typically done by women and shows the reaction of the family in the movie. This is very similar to how a typical orthodox Indian family would react to these situations as well. For example a male draping a saree in a store. This movie is one of a kind. Even if the movie didn’t show a lot about the transgender community, t highlighted the fact that they could be portrayed in movies by actors and it could be normalised.
In summary, the plot of this movie is that Asif (Akshay Kumar) and his wife Rashmi (Kiara Advani) go to Rashmi’s house and in some unexpected events a spirit possesses Asif. The movie shows the typical religious things done to “banish the spirit”. This movie highlights the Hindu-Muslim conflict since Asif and Rashmi are from different communities. At the start of the move Rashmi’s father was not supportive of her husband. But as the movie progresses this dynamic changes.
This movie encompasses a variety of songs as well There is a typical bollywood peppy love song called “Burj Khalifa” that is trending on various platforms.It makes a person tap their feet and sway their head. . There is “Start Stop attracting people with its catchy title and chorus. Added to the mix they have “Bam Bholle,” which is once again a powerful song that demonstrates Akshay Kumar’s great acting as he dances in the role of a transgender. There is a fire in the center while multiple people dance around it, clearly showing their powerful feelings.
All in all, I think the movie discusses different social issues present in India and tries to normalise it by showing it in a manner that the common person can resonate with. . From the changing of the name to the hate they are getting from net citizens need to open their minds and allow new forms of entertainment to arise . There are always people who comment and say bollywood loves to add the “spicy masala” to each movie but that is what the majority of the public wants. Irrespective of the movie having “masala” the movie is a blockbuster. That makes people who watched the movie hypocritical. To allow many people to watch the film and then blaming the movie for changing plotlines and not portraying the correct image.
In my opinion, Laxmii is a movie the first of its kind but there will be many more like this that will discuss social issues. The trangender community may be recognized by the government but they are yet to be respected which is what the movie aims to inculcate. I think the director was justified in saying that this is definitely a movie worthy of the term, “Bomb!”