Just before the rise of multiplex era a small film called, 'Hyderabad Blues' released. There were no known faces and yet the film was a hit and became a decent hit due to the new age type of Indian cinema attached to it. People loved this director - actor Nagesh Kukunoor and looked forward to his forthcoming films. He gave few more great films like 'Rockford', 'Bollywood Calling', '3 Deewarein', 'Aashayein' along with 'Iqbal' and 'Dor', which are like among his best works. But like every other directors Nagesh too had his share of few weak and bad films like 'Bombay To Bangkok', 'Hyderabad Blues 2', '8x10 Tasveer' and few more, where his directorial abilities went for a toss. Nevertheless, whenever this director gave a weak or bad film he sprung back with another good or a great film. Thus, expectations rose up with his latest film 'Lakshmi' which is based on a true story and has already been acclaimed at film festivals. However, as the saying goes that 'all that glitters is not gold', similarly films appreciated in film festivals may not be a good film as per our Indian audience's taste. So, let's find out whether 'Lakshmi' will stand up to the expectation levels and merits attached to it or might join among Nagesh's weak films due to low publicity, less known star cast and dull marketing.
'Lakshmi' is a true story based on the life of a teenage girl Lakshmi (Monali Thakur), who is dragged into the dark world of prostitution by the Reddy brother's (Nagesh Kukunoor & Satish Kaushik). Lakshmi goes through lots of physical and emotional torture until one fine day when she decides to seek legal action against the people attached to this whole racket. What happens next is what the entire film is all about.
Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story starts with some similarities to 'Salaam Bombay', but on totality is different and is engaging from the first scene itself. Nagesh takes us through the physical and mental torture of its main protagonist, which is depressing and disturbing. His direction style makes you restless and anxious, as he succeeds in involving your feelings for his main character's trauma. There are some hard hitting scenes like Monali getting raped for the first time, Shefali guiding Monali over her injuries, Nagesh hitting Monali, Ram Kapoor shows sex tapes in court followed by him asking questions to doctor, Nagesh torturing Shefali, corporator bribing Monali and a few more. Many of these scenes have been told in the boldest manner we have seen in our Hindi films. On the flip side, there are times when the film starts looking a bit unrealistic as the drama takes over. In addition, the middle portions of the film are flat and disjointed. The court matters are shown very easily, which should have been on lines of films like 'Shahid' and few more. Also the gore part might not go well with the family audience. The cinematography is good and helps in going under the skin of the film.
Music & Direction:
Music might not be popular, but songs like 'Sun Ri Baavli' & 'Sun Sugana Re' goes well with the flow of the film. The background music is soothing and at the same time haunts you.
'Lakshmi' is the boldest and darkest film made by director Nagesh Kukunoor. Most of his films made earlier were comical or slice of life or emotional feel good types films, but with 'Lakshmi' he shows his evolved side which comes at par with many of today's directors know for making hard hitting realistic types of films. He highly succeeds in matching your emotions with the feel of the film. The only problem was his casual approach in the courtroom scenes, which diluted the impact of the film.
Monali Thakur looks cute and her sweet looks work in favor of the film. Due to this kiddish charm, you start to feel for her agony and pain. She struggles a bit in her hard-hitting scenes. Shefali Shah looks gorgeous and does her part with total grace.
Nagesh Kukunoor in his negative avatar is mind blowing. Flora Saini adds the charm to her character. Satish Kaushik and Vibha Chibber lend good support. Ram Kapoor was good but could have been much better.
So bol meri 'Filmi Khopdi' iss film mein kitna hain Dum?
Dum? Well this real life hard-hitting story has lots of dum on content, theme and performance basis. The movie might not appeal to mass audience or all those who are weak at heart, but for those who love intense drama then 'Lakshmi' will turn out to be dark, disturbing, realistic yet a must watch film for all of them.
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