A genre rarely explored in Hindi cinema, comedy-horror, returns to our screens this week of Diwali with Laxmii. This is not the first time Akshay Kumar has enchanted audiences with the same theme in Bhool Bhulaiya (2007), a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu (1993), while his latest film is a remake of the Tamil film Kanchana (2011). Both the original and the remake were directed by Raghavendra Lawrence and revolve around the protagonist (Kumar) who is possessed by a transgender ghost who wants to avenge injustice in the world.
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Kumar plays the role of Asif, who doesn’t believe in ghosts. However, Laxmii’s ghost enters him and he uses him to take revenge for the evil that happened to him. The family of his lover, played by Kiara Advani, is then upset, because the passage from transsexuality to his personality baffles everyone, including himself. This gives energetic scenes, but they are more comic than horror, as the trailer also says: “Revenge is hilarious and explosive”.
The true story of the film Laxmii
Laxmii was first made in Tamil, under the name Kanchana. Kanchana is a series of comic horror films and Lawrence played in the Tamil versions. It was one of the first films to present transsexuals in a positive light, rather than using them as comedy tropes. Without giving spoilers, we can say that the transsexual in the original film suffered an injustice for choosing to live as an equal, which eventually led to his death. Thus, the spirit continues to remain on earth for justice to prevail.
“Our film in Tamil is named after the main character Kanchana. Kanchana means “gold,” which is a form of Lakshmi. Earlier, I had considered doing the same for the Hindi remake, but we collectively decided that the name should also appeal to the Hindi audience and what better name than Laxmii,” Lawrence said.