Release Date : Mar 21,2014
Lakshmi (aka) Lakshmi review
Review by : Kaushik L M
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Production: Elahe Hiptoola, Nagesh Kukunoor, Satish Kaushik
Cast: Flora Saini, Monali Thakur, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ram Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Shefali Shah
Direction: Nagesh Kukunoor
Screenplay: Nagesh Kukunoor
Story: Nagesh Kukunoor
Music: Tapas Relia
Background score: Tapas Relia
Cinematography: Chirantan Das
Editing: Sanjib Datta

Only very rarely does cinema go beyond the realm of mere entertainment and becomes an eye opener and an enlightening lesson. Lakshmi is one such delightful film, directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, which is a crusade against child trafficking.

The tale is shown through the eyes of a 14 year old girl who is sold into the child trafficking trade in Andhra Pradesh, by her own family. The pain that she undergoes as a rookie in the trade has been shown with some really explicit visuals which will make you squirm in your seats. The beauty with Lakshmi is that it not only shows the pain that the young protagonist undergoes in the trade, but also her redemption and her big fightback against the racket in the second half. The film thus brims with hope, courage and leaves you with a really positive feeling and an emotional high.

Never before in mainstream cinema has a film maker gone to the lengths that Nagesh has gone, to show the flesh trade as real as possible on the big screen. The practices followed by the prostitutes, the abuse that they encounter on a daily basis and even their lighter moments of bonding have been shown as realistically as possible.

All the actors who have played their parts must be lauded for being so bold and daring. Nagesh Kukunoor has played the role of a nasty pimp and seeing his eventual fate, you will be left speechless. What guts to play the antagonist’s role and at the same time helm a movie with such lofty intentions? It is as if Nagesh made himself a victim to maximize the impact of his movie. Same applies to Sathish Kaushik, who has co-produced the movie along with Nagesh and Elahe Hiptoola. Sathish plays a senior figure who is spotless outside but has some really dirty and shocking secrets buried underneath.

Ram Kapoor is all heart and truly endearing as the nervous lawyer who takes up Lakshmi’s case. The immensely voluptuous Flora Saini is as authentic as possible, playing a prostitute and so is Shefali Shah who makes a major impact as the movie progresses. Now coming to the 28 year old Monali Thakur who has played the title role of the 14 year old Lakshmi, she carries the film to the finish line ably on her slender shoulders. Her casting is a master stroke by Nagesh and her vulnerability, the subtle guts and bravery and her childish innocence have all been portrayed brilliantly.

In the second half, when the movie has some courtroom scenes we never get to see the drama that we associate with such scenes. Just the facts are presented and never do we have melodrama and overexcitement ruling the frame. Another pat on Nagesh’s back for this.

The dialogs of the movie carry a poignant as well as hard-hitting appeal and stand out as another positive aspect of the movie.

Tapas Relia has delivered a lovely soundtrack which features some touching melody tracks that are apt for all the situations. The end credits video featuring Kailash Kher is a fitting closure to the movie and leaves you pondering “Are we being human?”

The film runs for lesser than 2 hours and its impact and intentions are never lost in translation, thanks to the director’s taut and concise treatment of his subject matter. His no-holds-barred approach works big time in favor of the film. This one is for the brave cinema fan who can swallow his bitter pill.

Verdict: A truly bold and beautiful human-interest tale. MUST WATCH.
( 3.5 / 5.0 )


Lakshmi (aka) Lakshmi

Lakshmi (aka) Lakshmi is a Hindi movie with production by Elahe Hiptoola, Nagesh Kukunoor, Satish Kaushik, direction by Nagesh Kukunoor, cinematography by Chirantan Das, editing by Sanjib Datta. The cast of Lakshmi (aka) Lakshmi includes Flora Saini, Monali Thakur, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ram Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Shefali Shah.