Lawrence of Chennai is out on a wild horse. Wanted urgently: Exorcist who can put down such over the top super naturals. Not natural. Those who dare to watch this ghost film, have not a ghost of a chance to enjoy the film. Very early Mr. Platitudes is out pleading for ‘non-superstitious’ beliefs. The prologue as a style is to set the tone. Here it is to convey the contradictory stance.
Asif (Akshay Kumar) is happily married to Rashmi (Kiara Adwani). The family also has a nephew Shaan. An invite from Ma in Law Ratna (Aisha Raza) gets him ready to go home where sulking Pa in Law Sachin (Rajesh Sharma) is trying hard to make faces to match the forthcoming ghost. Have lemon grass tea and digest the ghost from the root, planted with cricket stumps.
Narrative has it that lemon tea went to the wrong host – otherwise the ghost fighter could well have been Pa in Law. Don’t bother about what this family is up to in Daman. Suffice it is to know that they live in a spacious bunglow along with the son Deepak (Manu Rishi Chadha) and daughter in law Ashwini (Ashwini Kalsekar). No one warrants an interest or attention. The family seem a circus till the ghost arrives and runs amok. The trite template of the ghost are let loose on the viewer. Amateur attempts to add to ghost experience are made. As the ghost roars, the attempt falls flat. Predictable screech, scream and darkness take a toll on one and all. The connect between the avenging ghost and the hapless family is a foolhardy trip to a local stadium with a loud warning of being haunted.
Normally films of this genre operate on the premise of scaring the viewer or at least nail-biting happenings. Neither apply to the Hindi translation by Lawrence of Chennai. How and why the ghost of Laxmi (Sharad Kelkar) enters and acts to the detriment of the characters and the viewers, now deprived of pop corn makes for the first mainstream film’s journey to the new normal.
Fortunately, the script doesn’t permit too much of chest beating, macho image building. In contrast, at one level, albeit in that 20 minutes, it preaches for tolerance towards transgenders. The title song where ‘our hero’ dances alongside many transgenders will be remembered for its promotion and nothing more. The song among transgenders by Rafi saab in Mehmood’s Kunwara Baap is a clear winner. Not so much by compare as by contrast.
It is indeed unfortunate to see Aisha Raza trying to do a Kovai Sarala. Sad indeed. Ditto Rajesh Sharma. Kiara Adwani is very graceful and rightfully looks lost in the ghost house and the loud scream happenings. Akshay Kumar swings from good (and challenging) to crass (and mundane). Not backed by a tight script, it is a moot question as to whether the script did him in or vice versa. As a film, the ‘mainstream’ gloss and its accompanying ‘stardust’ do not muster enough to make one open the virtual screen for the ghost.
The spelling, the title, the spell, everything goes wrong in the translation of Kanchana. Sometimes good imagination helps to do a ghostly story, but it soon turns more ghastly than ghostly.