Tikli and Laxmi Bomb movie review: Netflix film gets its atmospherics right despite tiresome screenplay

The message is commendable, the idea progressive and so, in spite of its creative issues, Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is somehow a gratifying watch.

Udita Jhunjhunwala August 01, 2018 09:24:31 IST

3/5

Aditya Kripalani has adapted his 2015 book of the same name to make a fictional feature set in the world of sex workers in Mumbai. The depth in the material gives Tikli and Laxmi Bomb the milieu, characters and texture – a noir feel – that lends itself to cinema.

Tikli and Laxmi Bomb movie review Netflix film gets its atmospherics right despite tiresome screenplay

A still from Tikli and Laxmi Bomb. Netflix

Two sex workers from Mumbai – Putul (Chitrangada Chakraborty), a rebellious newbie, and a weary veteran Laxmi Malwankar (Vibhawari Deshpande) – develop a bond and an idea. They experiment with an idea to create an autonomous system that liberates them from bondage to levels of male exploitation. These include the pimp and the police among others. Are they successful in their slightly naive and idealistic endeavour? Will the sisterhood of street walkers stay united? Will the men step aside and give in to a new order without a fight? Who or what is Tikli? The answers to these questions are in the film, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Forty-year-old Laxmi protectively oversees her brood of girls and manages the tension-filled equation with the chain of men claiming their pound of flesh. Deshpande conveys physical exhaustion and resignation, and evokes sympathy for the woman who has succumbed to the roll of dice. Chakraborty plays the rebel challenging the patriarchal system with aplomb. In contrast, Upendra Limaye, as the pimp Mhatre, is loud and over the top. The cops are largely unscrupulous stereotypes. The cast also includes Suchitra Pillai as another veteran streetwalker and Mayur More as AT, the rickshaw driver with a vanquished Bollywood dream.

Converting a book to a screenplay requires a particular skill and the most glaring flaw in Tikli is this. As the story, screenplay and dialogue writer, as well as the director, Kripalani has spelt out every emotion, every action and the result of every action has also been shown. The graph of the film is like a wave – it takes the audience up and down just as it does the characters, but after a while, this rhythm becomes tiresome. The use of songs adds drag to the narrative, which would have benefited from some inventive editing.

Collaborating with an all-woman crew, what Kripalani does achieve effectively is creating the mis-en-scene. The locations and the dark, seedy streets, the costumes and lighting build the tension as these girls place themselves in potential danger as they drive away with strangers night after night. Credit to Kripalani for handling the subject with sensitivity and care, addressing issues of gender inequality, championing feminism and addressing the plight of sex workers respectfully. The message is commendable, the idea progressive and so, in spite of its creative issues, Tikli and Laxmi Bomb is somehow a gratifying watch.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Rooting for Roona review: Netflix documentary underscores flaws in Indian healthcare system at grassroots level
Entertainment

Rooting for Roona review: Netflix documentary underscores flaws in Indian healthcare system at grassroots level

The documentary sensitively captures not only Roona’s unusual case, but also the impact and stress on a young married couple on raising the child.

Halal Love Story movie review: Sweet, deceptive simplicity in a layered community portrait
Entertainment

Halal Love Story movie review: Sweet, deceptive simplicity in a layered community portrait

Zakariya paints a credible portrait of a community that is as flawed as any other in this country.

Putham Pudhu Kaalai movie review: A relatable, yet restrictive, collection of stories of hope in the coronavirus era
Entertainment

Putham Pudhu Kaalai movie review: A relatable, yet restrictive, collection of stories of hope in the coronavirus era

The five films in Amazon Prime Video India's maiden Tamil anthology are not all equal, but they are different and thoughtful in interesting ways.