Kukunoor Movies, UV News Media & Communications Limited and Pen India Pvt. Ltd production venture, LAKSHMI has been directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, famous for critically and commercially successful films like HYDERABAD BLUES, DOR and AASHAYEIN. Music too has played a pivotal role in most of his endeavours and is always is sync with the theme and mood of the films. So, one does expect something along the same lines from the relatively new composer Tapas Relia, known more for background music in various films up till now. The film also assumes importance as it marks the acting debut of the extremely talented and versatile singer, Monali Thakur.
The master of sufiyana, Kailash Kher opens the proceedings with a prayer, a heartfelt cry to the almighty through 'Hai Raham Hai Karam
' which is almost like a theme song. The lovely fusion of western and Hindustani classical (with more emphasis on traditional) makes this one contemporary and universally appealing. The lyrics are the USP and give a good insight into the story and sends a strong message of women equality and implores for their rights and talks about their plight in today's times. CHECK OUT: Lakshmi - Songs Lyrics
A lovely traditional North Indian folk based wedding song, to be precise a 'bidaai
' number, 'Sun Sugana Re
' is sung excellently through some emotive renditions by Suchi and Ankita Joshi. The use of traditional Hindustani instruments like 'shehnai
' and flute add to the charm and rural festive mood.
Monali Thakur as Lakshmi gives a powerful performance. With her wide eyes and body language, she transfers her plight and fright onto you as a viewer. She takes you through her ordeal. Her performance is very real. It scares you.
So does the performance of the other actors.
Let's begin with Satish Kaushik. You don't know if he is good or evil; he flits through these characters without emotion. And that is what is very scary. One moment he is this caring elder, and the next he is this filthy animal. Scary, very scary!
Nagesh Kukunoor as Chinna the pimp is frightening. The way he runs his brother's business in a clinical manner and the way he never shies from using his foul mouth and hands are scary, very scary!
Shefali Shah as the 'Madam' in charge of the 'hostel' gives off her best performance to date. You wonder how a woman can be so insensitive to a child. But that is the stark reality of this business. Scary, very scary!
The plight of the other girls and the peace they have made with their situation is another scary aspect. Ditto the way the customers who come in, some of who want 14-year-olds. Imagine, they are 60-year-old married men with families and perhaps, daughters of the same age they are violating. Scary, very scary.
Nagesh Kukunoor has done a wonderful service to society by walking us through [through cinema] a harsh reality of life which most of us would be content turning the other way. That is what cinema is all about; using the medium to create awareness about issues which most would be happy not talking about.
Incidentally, at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, celebrated photographer Sudharak Olwe's exhibition on the plight of commercial sex workers titled '11th lane Kamathipura'
is also on till March 26. Footnote: On March 17 this year, the Vatican, the Anglican Communion and a leading Muslim institution signed a historic agreement to work together to end human trafficking worldwide by 2020.
The new accord, signed during a Vatican news conference, launched the beginning of the Global Freedom Network, which hopes to expand to include all the world's major faiths.
The global initiative aims to prevent modern forms of slavery; to protect, rescue and rehabilitate victims; and to promote concrete measures that condemn or criminalize human trafficking.
In a joint statement, the accord's signatories called human trafficking and modern forms of slavery ''crimes against humanity'' and called for urgent action by all faith communities to join the effort to ''set free the most oppressed of our brothers and sisters.''