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Movie Review | Raksha Bandhan: A message driven stale tale

Like most Aanad L Rai films, Raksha Bandhan too tries to deliver a message. Having said so, it still appears to be too late to satiate and convince in 2022.

Raksha Bandhan, when translated means ‘the bond of protection’, it is the title of the latest Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar starrer. Raksha Bandhan, as expected is a comedy-drama film helmed by Aanand L Rai. The film has typical Akshay Kumar comedy and stretches as documentary on the dowry system with Akshay Kumar’s family shown as a typical case study. It has all the elements – four sisters with varied characteristics, a brother single-handedly trying to get a right match for his sisters putting his own marriage at stake. It ends with yet another message of girl child education, sort of a solution to the problem.

The film begins with pregnant women queueing up to eat Lala’s gol guppe. Lala’s chaat shop if famous to serve gol guppe to pregnant women with an untold assurance to deliver male child. There is also a mention of a boy’s father claiming that his wife delivered boy after consuming Lala’s gol guppe!!! Lala Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar) is the eldest and only brother of 4 sisters (Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth), runs a chaat shop that was started by his father. Lala promises his frail mother on her deathbed that he will marry only after he fulfills the responsibility of marrying his sisters with suitable grooms first. What follows is Lala’s relentless efforts of getting his sisters married while upholding his family values. At the same time, Lala also faces hiccups on his personal front, his romantic life with childhood love Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar). However, Lala’s commitment to his sisters stands as a huge stumbling block for his and Sapna’s love story to settle. Understanding the importance of Lala’s vow, Sapna decides to wait till his goal is achieved.

Aanand L Rai through his film Raksha Bandhan has tried to communicate two messages at the same time. One on the still prevailing dowry system and the other, rather told subtly, about girl child education. Rai has taken the sarcasm route to bring the point to fore in a light hearted manner like when a groom and his family have come to discuss a marriage proposal that ends up in rather fixing a price for the proposal saying that someone else is ready to chip in 12 lakhs as against 11 agreed by Lala and it does not end there, it goes upto 17 lakhs as if there is an ongoing auction taking place.

Aanand L Rai has showcased the plight of a brother of 4 sisters and the problems he faces to a point that he ends up taking an extreme step. He is so obsessed with the thought of getting his sisters married that he finds a groom in anyone and everyone, even a raddi wala!!!

There are two striking scenes on the issue of dowry; one when a social activist is encouraging people to shun the dowry system but is countered by Lala saying that it is easy for a mother of daughters speaking this language, had it been parents of sons then it would have made sense. Concluding that there is but no alternative or a fix to the problem and hence there is no point in talking about the same. The same Lala in a scene towards the end screams and tells everyone that the grooms family has always been like blood suckers and the dowry system has ruined many a girl’s life with ongoing demand for lavish white goods at the behest of dowry (and in the name of keeping one’s daughter happy!).

If one sees the film from a perspective, one will notice that there are quite a few sarcastic points raised in the narrative. Like for instance Seema Pahwa who plays a matchmaker is shown to get a ‘deal’ done rather than finding a ‘suitable’ match. It is more like demand and supply so much so that if the groom is from a well-to-do family, he is picked up as a ‘good match’ even though the boys may stammer to no end. Also, Sapna’s father’s constant urge to Lala to marry her or else he would get her married to ‘someone’ to let off his ‘liability’ before his retirement.

Akshay Kumar as Lala easily slips into the character and brings some laugh through his acting histrionics. His four sisters played by Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth get limited scope with Sadia Khateeb standing out.

Bhumi Pednekar has limited scope and she does justice to the character. Seema Pahwa has a small, but a very significant role and she does it convincingly.

The songs are composed by Himesh Reshammiya while Ishaan Chhabra composed the original background score and Irshad Kamil has written the lyrics. However, there is nothing much that can be written about the music and could be termed as elementary.

Overall, like most Aanad L Rai films, this one too tries to deliver a message. Having said so, it still appears to be too late to satiate and convince in 2022.

Movie: Raksha Bandhan
Director: Aanand L Rai
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth, Seema Pahwa
Runtime: 110 mins

SUMMARY

Like most Aanad L Rai films, Raksha Bandhan too tries to deliver a message. Having said so, it still appears to be too late to satiate and convince in 2022.
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Movie Review | Raksha Bandhan: A message driven stale taleLike most Aanad L Rai films, Raksha Bandhan too tries to deliver a message. Having said so, it still appears to be too late to satiate and convince in 2022.