Cast: Monali Thankur, Satish Kaushik, Ram Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Nagesh Kukunoor, Gulfam Khan, Flora Saini, Vibhor Chibber, Priyanka
Genre: Social Drama
Direction: Nagesh Kukunoor
Production: Nagesh Kukunoor, Elahe Hiptoola, Satish Kaushik
Story: Nagesh Kukunoor
Cinematographer: Chirantan Das
Editor: Sanjeeb Datta
Music: Tapas Relia
Lyricist: Manoj Yadav
Singers: Kailash Kher, Ankita Joshi, Papon, Monali Thakur, Suchi
Release Date: 21st March, 2014
Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes
Lakshmi is a movie inspired by a true story which deals with immoral trafficking of girls, and child prostitution. Monali Thakur plays the role of the protagonist Lakshmi. She is a victim, who at the age of 14 finds herself in a brothel, run by Reddy Garu (Sathish Kaushik) and Chinna (Nagesh Kukunoor). What follows after Lakshmi being sold by her father and pushed into this dirty world of prostitution at Dharam Vilas, is quiet disturbing, suffocative. Jyoti, the hard-hitting, dirty-talking head madam of the brothel (played by Shefali Shah) is assertive enough to manage the girls as well as the clients. No sigh of relief for Lakshmi since she is continuously battered and bruised. But then Lakshmi gets the courage and support to fight back with the legal support for all the miseries which she faced. Post-interval, her journey of triumph is just incredible. Credits at the end of the movie say that this is the first case in which the accused were convicted in Hyderabad and this became the precedent for many other cases of immoral trafficking.
Director and Story Writer:
Nagesh Kukunoor (Direction and Story) has done a great amount of justice to the movie. No exaggeration at all. He tells the pain-staking story of Lakshmi in a commendable manner. He depicts the murky world of prostitution realistically. Indeed he has given a story of hope, courage and victory.
Cast and their Performance:
Monali Thakur as Lakshmi is extremely good. As Lakshmi, she is fresh, innocent, bewildered, helpless, grief-stricken…displayed all the emotions with so much perfection.
Nagesh Kukunoor as Chinna raises so much of anger and hatred. One would end up hating this brutal man every time when he tortures girls in the brothel and no sense of mercy towards them even when they are physically unfit.
Shefali Shah as Jyoti has given a great performance as the head madam of the brothel. She is strict and at the same time kind and full of empathy. A brilliant work from her.
Satish Kaushik as Reddy Garu forces us to think that there are such men also in the society who is sexually abusive for their own weird reasons.
Ram Kapoor as Avinash, the lawyer brings hope and respite. He is empathetic and sensitive while handling Lakshmi’s case.
Flora Saini as Swarna, Lakshmi’s room mate has also given a great and noticeable performance. There are scenes where she teaches Lakshmi to dress up, do make-up and ways to woo a client.
Rest of the cast also have done great work viz. Gulfam Khan as Corporator Radha,, Vibhor Chibber as Amma, Ramakrishna Shenoy as Mohan, Vinita Joshi as Asha, Priyanka Vir as Uma Didi, Sumit Sharma as opposition lawyer, Suresh Kumar as judge, and Subhash Gupta as Dr. Murali.
Chirantan Das has taken shots in such a manner so as to make the frames very very realistic. Even the narrow lanes are shot so nicely.
Music by Tapas Relia is good and it brings tears into our eyes especially when the songs are clubbed with disturbing visuals.
Moments to watch out for:
Lakshmi’s journey towards triumph, a beautiful relationship which developed between Lakshmi and Avinash (advocate), Lakshmi doing the make-up just before facing the media on her victory…
Watch this movie since it conveys a great social message. A story of an entirely different India, where having a girl child itself is supposed to be cursed. And then the girl is being sold to pimps, or forced into wrong profession, at a very tender age.
Oops! No ‘Thumbs down’ moments. But yes, this movie is not for you if you just seek entertainment through movies. It might force you to grieve along with Lakshmi.
Best Film – Mercedes Benz Audience Award
Best Narrative : Palm Springs International Film Festival 2014
Lakshmi does ask us : Are we being human?