Movie review by Anupama Chopra: Lakshmi is effective but brutally disturbing

  • Nagesh Kukunoor's Lakshmi

    Nagesh Kukunoor's Lakshmi explores the journey of a girl who was kidnapped, forced into prostitution, rescued, fought back and won.

  • Lakshmi

    Nagesh Kukunoor has also written the screenplay for Lakshmi.

  • Lakshmi

    Lakshmi has already won Mercedes-Benz Audience Award for Best Narrative.

  • Lakshmi, Monali Thakur

    Lakshmi features Monali Thakur as Lakshmi.

  • Lakshmi

    Shefali Shah, Ram Kapoor, Nagesh Kukunoor and Satish Kaushik also star in Lakshmi.

Film: Lakshmi
Direction: Nagesh Kukunoor
Actors: Monali Thakur, Satish Kaushik, Shifaali Shah

Nagesh Kukunoor’s Lakshmi is a disturbing film, in both a good and a bad way.

The story, about a 14-year-old sold into prostitution, is an amalgamation of fact and fiction. Nagesh, who has also written the film, doesn’t shy away from the horrors she endures. The direction is heavy-handed and overtly literal but effective.



We watch as Lakshmi, played by debutant Monali Thakur, is raped, beaten and brutalised into submission. Her body is broken literally but her spirit remains intact. She runs away at every chance she gets and eventually takes her traffickers to court.

It’s gut-wrenching but gripping. But then, in the second half, Kukunoor takes the brutality to such an extreme that it stops having impact. I looked away and emotionally stepped out of the story.



I simply didn’t want to be subjected to the ugliness anymore. Which is a shame because Lakshmi is heartfelt and has some fine performances by Monali, Satish Kaushik and Shifaali Shah.

Honestly, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend Lakshmi. In places, it’s repulsive and, yet, it demands to be seen. So you decide for yourselves.

 

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