Review of the Lakshmi movie: If the audience wants to see a group of adorable children dancing with all their heart, they can do it from the comfort of their homes.
Lakshmi movie cast: Prabhudheva, Aishwarya Rajesh, Ditya Bhande
Lakshmi movie director: AL Vijay
Lakshmi movie rating: 2.5 stars
If you ask me what is the best Indian dance film, without hesitation, I would say Salangai Oli by Kamal Haasan (Sagara Sangamam in Telugu). It is the best dance drama not only because of the excellent performances of its stellar cast and the well choreographed classical dance pieces. But, mainly because the film had a very strong and forceful plot that was handled by the veteran director K Viswanath with the ability of a tragic notable. In the 21st century, we have not yet seen a significant dance film like Salangai Oli.
Influenced by the Hollywood Step Up series, we have had a series of modern dance films that mostly lacked significant plot or real emotions. Movies like Raghava Lawrence’s Style, which is loud and unintelligent, and ABCD series, which are flashy and melodramatic, make dance films these days. The filmmakers presume that the audience will be magnanimous enough to overlook the absence of an attractive story and script, as long as the films have a lot of good dance performances.
It is as if the filmmakers did not know how to make a dance film without tropes as a superior dance competition. Or the vested interests that plan an accident to prevent the protagonist from participating in the final.
The dance film of Director AL Vijay, Lakshmi, falls into the same trap. Just to ensure that the audience does not leave the auditorium at halftime, he has intelligently written the story about the children. And he has been smarter in choosing the cast, which is composed mainly of adorable children and talented supreme.
Lakshmi (Ditya Bhande) was born a dancer so much that she immersed herself in a dance listening to a mobile call tone. Her mother Nandini (Aishwarya Rajesh) is against letting her pursue her passion. Why? Because she has the art of dance responsible for her lost love. How? The director does not really try to explain it because he knows it would sound very silly. Vijay does not really explain everything to the audience. He throws us clues and asks us to guess. While their clues are very easy to decipher, what really baffles us are the logical gaps in them.
Nandini, for example, hates dance because he hates Krishna (Prabhudheva). Hate Krishna because … did you have an accident? Vijay himself seems to understand that he does not have a convincing plot and it does not make sense to insist on it. Therefore, he keeps the attention on the children by leaving the responsibility to keep the whole film in its tenderness and inspiring talent.
We are treated to a dance piece after another set in different styles until the end. And the children do an excellent job entertaining us. There is also a love triangle between Lakshmi and two of his fellow dancers. One of the boys, who is crushing Lakshmi, is “healthy”. But, he is a real delight and one of the two surprises of the movie. Vijay highlights the fact that great dancers come in all shapes and sizes.
If today there was a movie about the life of the dance teacher Ganesh Acharya, the child will be perfect to play the young Ganesh. And the second surprise was a dance number without music.
Despite all the kindness provided by the children, the film does not even try to be more than a set of well-choreographed dance performances.
If the audience wants to see a group of adorable children dancing with all their heart, they can do it from the comfort of their homes. There are countless television programs that are based on emerging dance talents. Not in vain, Vijay even found Lakshmi’s lead actor, Ditya Bhande, in one of those talent shows.
Is it too much to ask for a dance movie with a decent plot?