wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

A story based on many true life incidents that feels like a story weaved into a documentary. Important stories to know, strike a chord. A must watch, even if you don't want to make a trip to the theater.

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Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Running time: 115 minutes
More Movie Info

Lakshmi's synopsis on Bookmyshow reads -

Lakshmi, a 13 year old girl is kidnapped and sold into prostitution. Thrown into this horrific, inhuman world where she is raped and brutally beaten she struggles to survive with the help of the other girls and her own will to never give in.

It makes Lakshmi, the film, sound like a run-of-the-mill struggle to victory story, which it very well might be. The film though sensitizes you to horrific human trafficking and how helpless the situation is. At the same time, you do realise that real-life must be only worse. The bravery of one girl, Lakshmi sounds unreal and that is what sets the film apart - it is based on true life. Lakshmi's bravery is real.

The narrative feels so real that many a time, it feels like a documentary. Yet, it is difficult to judge if this would have come through if it were not for the brilliant performances - from Monali Thakur, to Shifaali Shah to Satish Kaushik to Nagesh Kukunoor himself. You feel hatred towards the pimp, Chinna played by Nagesh Kukunoor as strongly as you feel Lakshmi and Jyothi's pain through Monali Thakur and and Shifaali Shah respectively.

Equal weightage has to be given the unavoidable crass language. It's not just the curse words but the brazen lines with which prostitution and related issues are portrayed that hits you but not in a wannabe way. It is perfectly in tune with the subject in hand.

When it comes down to stories based on real life with soulful narration, there is very little to say other than, "go watch it, because you need to."

Of course, Lakshmi is a very difficult and intense watch - for women, for sure, and hopefully for men too.

- meeta, a part of the audience

17 reviewers(?) - 7 yays 7 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...LAKSHMI is a heart-rending tale that ought to be told. It's a film that's sure to jolt you, take you out of your comfort zone, set you thinking about the plight of millions of kids pushed into the flesh trade.... full review

Thumbs up, by Suparna Sharma, Deccan Chronicle : ...Apart from Kukunoor, everybody’s accents here are awry and half-hearted. This bothered me at first, but once I adjusted to it, I began to like it, found meaning in it -- this story is not the story of Andhra Pradesh, it is a story of all of India.... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, : ...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... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...Well this real life hard-hitting story has lots of dum on content, theme and performance basis. The movie might not appeal to mass audience or all those who are weak at heart, but for those who love intense drama then 'Lakshmi' will turn out to be dark, disturbing, realistic yet a must watch film for all of them.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rahul Desai, Mumbai Mirror : ...Lakshmi is not without its flaws; the sort of topical theme Madhur Bhandarkar would have chosen at his prime. It makes you cringe for important reasons though, and must be watched for its relentless pursuit of relevance and authenticity.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K. Jha, NDTV : ... Lakshmi is not a film for the weak hearted and the squeamish. Isn’t the same true of life too?... full review

Thumbs up, by Paloma Sharma, Rediff : ...Yet, films like Lakshmi are the need of the hour.... full review

So-So, by Inspector VIjay, Desi Martini : ...Inspiring performances are the backbone of this iffy journey... ... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times : ...Honestly, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend Lakshmi. In places, it’s repulsive and, yet, it demands to be seen. So you decide for yourselves.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It is weighed down by its 'standard-issue' treatment... full review

So-So, by Faheem Ruhani, india today : ...Luckily, Kukunoor is supported by a team of good actors. Of the cast, Shefali Shah is brilliant in her dual role of an evil-kind madam of the brothel. Satish Kaushik is successful in making you want to hate him with his restrained villainy.... full review

So-So, by Mansha Rastogi, Now : ...To sum it up, Lakshmi is a story that's disturbing, shocking but a courageous effort. Watch this movie for stellar performances. ... full review

So-So, by Moumita Bhattacharjee, Star Blockbuster : ...Lakshmi isn’t recommended for those who don’t have an appetite for real cinema. Nagesh hasn’t left anything to imagination so it would be advisable to venture into theatres keeping in mind what to expect.... full review

So-So, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ... Lakshmi's story makes your heart bleed. If you have the courage, watch it.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mihir Fadnavis, FirstPost : ...The authentic Hyderabadi Kukunoor himself undoes his authenticity by wearing garish costumes just to look like a pimp... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Kukunoor opts for a documentary-style approach which offers little new insight about the plight of the women thrown into prostitution. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubha Shetty-saha, MiD DAY : ...Shefali Shah is brilliant as the kind but practical brothel keeper. This actress should get more opportunities to showcase her talent. In a serious case of miscasting, Monali Thakur is not at all convincing as a 14-year-old fresh-faced innocent child woman. Ram Kapoor is competent as usual. ... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots and pretty cruel too, even if off screen.
  • Language: Lots of abusive language
  • Nudity & Sexual content: The film is an intense look at human trafficking and prostitution. Even if there is no explicitly shown nudity or sexual content the topic itself is
  • Concept: An intense look at human trafficking and prostitution. And of course, the survival of a young girl through the toughest of times.
  • General Look and Feel: No frills, nothing fancy. As is.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Lakshmi - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
115 minutes

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