Lakshmi is a 2014 drama film directed by, Nagesh Kukunoor. The film deals with the harsh realities of human trafficking and child prostitution, which continue behind closed curtains in rural areas of India. Wikipedia
Although unsettling and horrific, the film is weighed down by its ‘standard-issue’ treatment. Lakshmi addresses a serious issue and forces us to confront a bitter reality, even offering hope in the end through the protagonist’s courageous fight for justice. But let’s not confuse the issue with the film, which is well-intentioned yet typical.
Honestly, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend Lakshmi. In places, it’s repulsive and yet, it demands to be seen.
It is both a terrifying and inspiring story and Kukunoor tells it with almost a schizophrenic cinematic narrative that is grim, claustrophobic and gory one moment, and the next breezy, airy and luminous.
It is difficult to watch Lakshmi. It gives you a headache inside the theatre. It gives you nightmares when you go home. The worst part of Lakshmi is that it isn’t just a story. When you come out of it, you will forever be plagued by the knowledge that evil does exist in this world and we, as a society, are only enabling it.
...not a film for the weak hearted and the squeamish. Lakshmi is a powerfully told inspirational tale that doesn’t brush the brutal reality of sexual exploitation under the rug. It pulls out uncomfortable home truths. There are portions of the narrative in the brothel involving Kukunoor and Shefali as the pimp and the madame that get unbearably violent and gruesome. Both come up with superlative fearless performances.
Lakshmi's story makes your heart bleed. If you have the courage, watch it.We wish Kukunoor had focused more on her spirit and triumph - our experience would've been more fulfilling, less overbearing. Shefali is brilliant, debutant Monali expresses with her beautiful eyes. Kapoor and Kaushik are average and Nagesh doesn't push his performance too far.
Lakshmi is in one word a heroic film. Not only for the story that Kukunoor has decided to tell but also the crude manner in which he tells us that makes a far reaching impact. This is a film that will penetrate into your psyche and horrify you to wits for being a vehemently powerful and intense story. More of such heart in your mouth stories are needed to bring about changes.
It's not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for entertainment then Nagesh Kukunoor's extremely disturbing film Lakshmi about the menace of child prostitution is not something you should be heading the theatres for. Also, if you do not have the stomach to digest brutally graphic violent scenes, you may not want to spend that Rs.200 on a multiplex ticket, where this film is most likely to find a limited release.
Kukunoor opts for a documentary-style approach which offers little new insight about the plight of the women thrown into prostitution. The film slips in the second half when Lakshmi takes the perpetrators to court and doesn't buck under the pressure as she shares details about her ordeal. While the film avoids mawkish courtroom theatrics, the scenes are so listless and shoddily put together that they wear viewers out than draw a strong emotional response.
...a heart-rending tale that ought to be told. It's a film that's sure to jolt you, take you out of your comfort zone, set you thinking about the plight of millions of kids pushed into the flesh trade. Sure, a number of images and instances in the movie are disturbing and distressing, but certain issues need to be addressed. Additionally, the message Nagesh Kukunoor conveys in LAKSHMI reverberates much after the screening has concluded.
Kukunoor’s story narration is single-minded and unflinching, but instead of getting into the sensitive details of the girl’s psyche and how it changes during her six-month ordeal in the brothel, he prefers to drive home the point about physical abuse again and again. In doing so, he is perhaps unwittingly providing some kind of titillation to the perverts present in the audience, thus diluting the whole purpose of the film.
As a result, a rare, powerful story of how a young girl was able to get justice for herself has been turned into a film that tries to cash in on India’s surging interest in women’s rights and violence against women. Lakshmi is a hero to lakhs of distraught women across the country. She deserves a well-made film; not manipulative, awfully directed, woefully shot, soulless tripe.
...a beautifully-made and very well-enacted film but it is of the kind which would be appreciated in the festival circuit. At the box-office, it stands bleak chances because it is too stark and too depressing.
To sum it up, Lakshmi is a story that's disturbing, shocking but a courageous effort. Watch this movie for stellar performances.
A film with heart and piety, Lakshmi suffers because of its cloying literality. Watching it is like reading reams of journalistic writing on child trafficking or watching an NGO documentary lauding their own good work.
When it comes down to stories based on real life with soulful narration, there is very little to say other than, "go watch it, because you need to."Of course, Lakshmi is a very difficult and intense watch - for women, for sure, and hopefully for men too.