At a time when movie fans had their eyes and hearts on Christopher Nolan, who gave them an IMAX experience with Tenet and thus rescued them from their forced abstinence from actually experiencing cinema, Akshay Kumar gave us his version of Inception . Because he gave us two films in a row – Laxmii and Durgamati, both remakes of South Indian films, and both pretty much a copy of each other. A remake and a sequel to a remake that is also a remake. Confused? So were we after we streamed Bhumi Pednekar star Durgamati on Amazon Prime Video.
LAXMII AND DURGAMATI, TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
On November 9, 2020, Akshays Laxmii fell on Disney + Hotstar, a remake of the 2011 Tamil film Kanchana, both directed by Raghava Lawrence. A little over a month later, on December 11th, he gave us moderation Durgamati, a remake of the Telugu film Bhaagamathie, both directed by Ashok G.
Watch the Laxmii trailer here:
The biggest difference between the two is that while overriding the cast in the first headline, Akshay is merely providing behind-the-camera support for the latter. The story, the premise, even the fact that both films belong to the horror genre, anyone who’s seen both will tell you, makes them eerily alike. Why should he choose it is one of those puzzles that always remains unsolved at the end of a horror movie.
NAME CHANGE, POSTER, PEOPLE OWNED BY DEMONS
Okay, a person who is haunted and ultimately possessed by a ghost is common in horror films. In this, Durgamati and Laxmii are similar. But what would you say about the color scheme of the posters for the two films? Akshay and Bhumi are similar in appearance, the poster relies heavily on blues and reds to create a mystery about the character, and both have bloodshot eyes. Why?
Laxmii, originally Laxmmi Bomb, had to change its title because a certain section of the audience was not happy about it. No such explanation was given about Durgamati when it moved from Durgavati overnight. As I said, certain puzzles remain unsolved forever.
BOLLYWOOD AND HORROR
Bollywood’s tryst with horror wasn’t particularly memorable. There were some outstanding ones – Tummbad, Stree, Pari maybe – but for each of them there is a Bhoot Part 1: The Haunted Ship or the Raaz or the Haunted Series. My goodness! Why should Akshay decide to give us two films of the same genre in a row?
The optimists in us were still hopeful, hoping for his 2007 published Bhool Bhulaiyaa, not entirely horror but a psychological film with a lot of comedy nonetheless. And Laxmii promised to be something like that. But that hope died faster than a door in a haunted house began to creak. Durgamati, on the other hand, was a cauldron of storylines anyway, and in that it fit our prediction – it remained as confusing and unnecessary as we feared.
Watch the Durgamati trailer here:
In an interview with IndiaToday.in, Mahie Gill, who plays Satyakshi Ganguly in Durgamati, said that she was a little uncomfortable with the acting letter that her director Ashok G. gave. Sharing an anecdote about her first day of shooting, Mahie said, “On the first day of shooting when I interrogated Bhumi (Pednekar) the lines were pretty strong and interesting, but I would get stuck because I haven’t spoken about such things. There were certain gestures that Ashok made Sir would tell us to do that and we would say, “Ye zyadaoud toh nahi lagega” … When you watch South movies you will find that the body language and that Expressions are very different. “
Bhumi had a similar concern. While someone like Anushka Shetty can pull off this extravaganza and still relate them, Bhumi and Mahie stumble. Yet Akshay gave us the same old wine in pretty much the same bottle and only changed the label if you ask, and he served it to us twice in just a month. Really, if you are looking for a horror story this is it.
WHY DID AKSHAY KUMAR DO THIS?
We don’t deny that he may have seen potential there; we sure can’t see it. But we see how badly it was done and that’s really all that matters. Blindly copying something that works for one sample TG and making it available for another sample TG in 2020 is an assault on the mind and sensibility of any movie buff. And someone should declare it a crime.
Nobody should have seen Laxmii or Durgamati, especially in a year that was already so tough. And yet we both had to see. Could this year get any worse?
(Let’s not challenge it.)
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