The key factor that worked for the Kanchana movies in Tamil was that a guy afraid of the dark, ghosts and pretty much everything after 6 PM gets possessed by the spirit of a transgender. The comedy in the horror comedy franchise came from this central theme. Laxmii (losing its original title Laxmi Bomb to a legal notice) eliminates this plot and what is left is a cheaper version of the ‘Housefull’ brand of comedy (if that is possible) with Ramsey style horror.
Successful horror comedies work when the humour is organically weaved into the script, a recent example being Stree. Barring such exceptions, the Horror comedy genre has mostly fallen flat in Hindi. Laxmi bomb is the latest in the series of disasters that is unintentionally funny in the horror parts and horrifying in the comic ones.
Akshay kumar leads the all-marred cast in a role where he over acts to the point of madness. He takes the slowest road to possession – outing fake exorcists, spreading Hindu-Muslim unity messages, and making extra sweet Lemongrass tea before meeting the ghost. It feels like he had wandered off to the ‘Padman-Toilet’ universe and had to be unwillingly pulled back into the sets of Laxmii. Sharad Kelkar reprising the role of the transgender played brilliantly by Sharath Kumar in the original gives the sole good performance of the movie, but his screen time is sacrificed at the altar of Lord Kumar. Capable actors with proven comic timing like Rajesh Sharma and Manu Rishi Chaddha are given pathetic lines and they bomb like a first time open-micer. Kiara Advani has a role that is slightly longer and highly inconsequential even when compared to the ‘Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham’ sequence in Lust Stories.
The movie sticks to the original for roughly 30 minutes and those are the only portions that are passable. Ashwini Kalsekar plays a daughter in law with a penchant for loud screams and dumb lines. In many scenes her makeup and weird expressions make her appear scarier than the CGI ghost. Unintentionally funny is bad for a movie but unintentional scare is plain sad. There is an irritating kid that addresses all the elders by their first name. Does this contribute to the plot or is used to make a point? Well, as much as the Burj Khalifa song does.
Laxmi wastes a funny premise and the director Raghava Lawrence (who played the lead in the original) would have had to moonwalk behind the camera to control the urge of trashing the “script” and replacing the lead actor. The movie ends with Akki’s warning ‘Laxmi will wreak havoc again’. To be honest, that was the scariest part of the movie. Pray to your God(s) of choice that it does not happen again.
Captive of the 24 frames and admirer of the written word. If it is not on the silver screen or on the pages of a paperback, it might as well not exist.
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