Lakshmi Review - Overtly simplistic but quite an easy watch
It is unfair to use the term predictable for a film like Lakshmi because that is almost a given for this genre. An underdog with a natural flair for dance coming up against odds is pretty obvious before the film even starts. And A.L. Vijay is someone whose films almost always tend to travel on expected lines. So it becomes all the more important for Lakshmi to make an emotional connect to sail through. That it does only in bits and pieces.
The film really starts on a note that acts as a showcase of the amazing dancing ability of Lakshmi (Ditya Bhande). She has an electric presence but these initial scenes are a bit far fetched. You understand that Lakshmi's mother played by Aishwarya is against her kid dancing. But the scenes that establish this are too convenient. Enters Prabhu Deva as expected and the focus that was on solely on Lakshmi all this while takes a more broad view that encompasses the major characters. Frankly, it becomes very clear as to how the major characters would be linked much later in the film. And it looks like A.L. Vijay too understands this and to his credit he downplays the revelations knowing fully well that we really are not going to be caught unawares at any point of time.
But the real problem for the film is that all the characters are too one note. Someone likes dance. Someone doesn't. Then there is a bad guy who is bad for no other reason other than for a conflict to be there in the film. It is as though the actors are carrying placards that says 'I am the good guy', 'I am the bad guy' and so on. There is no depth to them or even logical reasoning as to why they would behave so. This actually works both ways. It pulls down the emotional connect by a long way but on the bright side, as things are anyway predictable the film's length is quite crisp. But what was that with having Satyam Rajesh (Telugu actor) pop up randomly on screen without even a single dialogue. A by product of a bilingual attempt gone wrong?
There are some nice little ideas scattered through the film. For instance, I was wondering that since the dancing prowess of Lakshmi is established so early on, how would she be projected as an underdog. But then this stage fear angle is introduced. But such ideas are minimal. The melodrama is totally out of place and laughable at places. Kids dancing on nails placed by the rival team on stage is stuff of a bygone era. A complaint is all it would take to pause the event and take corrective action. The music does fit in properly to suit the needs of a dance film but the songs really do not register as such. And frankly, watching too many back to back dance performances is a bit tiring. While it is acceptable that this is indeed the format for such films, the absence of a concrete reason (even if the reason is strong it comes across as flimsy on screen) for us to root for either Lakshmi or Prabhu Deva is the film's major drawback.
Prabhu Deva almost looks the same as he was during his debut more than two decades back and he has been an underused actor and continues to be so. One really wishes he gets more prominent roles in films that are not really about him dancing.
Lakshmi is predictable as expected. But A.L. Vijay delivers a movie that is quite passable.