THE biggest Diwali Bollywood release is high-profile film Laxmmi, which is a remake of 2011 Tamil blockbuster Muni 2: Kanchana and sees Akshay Kumar in a never-seen-before avatar, of a strong-minded man who gets possessed by a female ghost.
The Hindi language horror comedy premieres on November 9 on Disney Hotstar and is the third film from designer turned producer Shabinaa Khan, who has gone from creating looks for big blockbusters to making her own. She has made great strides in a male-dominated domain and is working with Akshay Kumar again, after producing hit films Rowdy Rathore and Gabbar Is Back.
Eastern Eye caught up with Shabinaa Khan to talk about her big Diwali release Laxmmi, movies and more.
What led you towards producing Laxmmi, which was previously titled Laxmmi Bomb? The content of Laxmmi actually drew me to producing the film. I had seen Kanchana ages ago and loved the film. It was a complete entertainer and I just knew I had to produce it.
Tell us about the film? The film falls under the horror-comedy space but this time with a social message around the transgender community. Laxmmi takes audiences through the madness that ensues once the hero gets possessed.
How does it compare to the original it is a remake of? This is my third remake and the most important part of remaking a film is keeping the basic story idea the same, while reworking the screenplay and adapting the characters to suit the Hindi market and audience.
What was the biggest challenge of producing the film? Challenges are always a part of filmmaking. We had purchased the rights of Kanchana five years ago. From the process of shooting the film, the obstacles that came with Covid-19, to figuring the film’s release in theatres, each brought its own set of challenges. But all will be forgotten once we bring this film to audiences.
What do you like about Akshay Kumar as an actor? According to me after Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan, Akshay Kumar is one of the most versatile actors in the film industry today. He is an all-rounder and can adapt himself to any character. Once you watch Laxmmi, you’ll realise no one, and I really mean this, no one could play this character the way Akshay Kumar has.
What is your favourite moment in the movie? There is this highlight song that comes in the pre-climax and climax of the film, and of course, the horror-comedy scenes too are memorable. However, I must add that Laxmmi is a complete entertainer from start to finish, so I love the entire film as a whole.
How do you feel about it releasing straight on to a streaming site? OTT is the future, so we took the decision of releasing it on a streaming site. I’m quite happy with the call we’ve taken because as long as the film is seen by one and all, the medium doesn’t matter.
What can we expect next from you? There are multiple stories and projects I have liked and shortlisted. Hopefully, after Laxmmi’s delivery and release, I will have the time to sit and decide what I want to do next. As a thumb rule, I work on only one or two projects at a time so that I can concentrate on the making of the film.
Who is your filmmaking hero? My filmmaking hero is only Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I learnt filmmaking from him and assisted him on the sets of Black, so he’s my university and mentor.
Why should we watch Laxmmi? After a really long time comes a complete entertainer. With Laxmmi, you watch, laugh, cry and go back with a social message. So, in that sense, you enjoy the film in a thorough manner. When making the film, the aim was to have audiences forget their worries while they watched the film. So that is what you can expect from this one.