Raksha Bandhan Review: This regressive Akshay Kumar starrer leaves you fuming and frustrated
Film: Raksha Bandhan
Director: Anand L Rai
Bollywood Bubble ratings: 1.5/5 stars
Raksha Bandhan movie review:
I don’t know where to start and what to start. In the first five minutes of the film, I saw casual sexism, body shaming, racism and of course glorifying dowry. Now, I hope you got an idea of why am I saying that from where to start. Akshay Kumar starrer has so many flaws that at some point, it irked me. I wish we could have seen more brother-sister bonds but I came across cringe. It seems like Raksha Bandhan is less about the sister-brother bond and more about glorifying patriarchy.
In the movie, Akshay is seen working hard to collect money not just for the wedding but for the dowry as well. Considering that dowry has been an issue in this country, in one scene, we get to see Akshay defending the practice of dowry. Yes, in the second half, he does oppose it but only after facing a tragic incident. Instead of asking his sisters if they want to get married, he pushes them to be the ‘Susheel, sundar’ ladkiyaa so that he can marry them off. He asks his dusky skin complexion sister to ‘marinate’ herself in ubtan, he asks his healthy sister to reduce weight and stop eating, and he asks his tomboy sister to look more like ‘Sunny Leone‘ instead of ‘Sunny Deol’. I mean why?
Yes, I agree that every brother mocks their sister and makes fun of them whether for their colour, size or nature but demeaning them in front of 100 people is not what we want in a brother. Despite the girls telling him that they are comfortable in their own skin, their brother is definitely not okay with the fact. I mean who wants a brother like that? If you love your sisters, you want to see your sisters getting happily married and not out of pressure or compulsion.
There was a scene where a matchmaker finally finds a guy for his elder sister and surprisingly, he did not ask for any information about the guy who his sister is going to marry. I mean, hello, where is the basic courtesy of asking the matchmaker ‘who is the guy?’ After a devastating incident, all that the brother can think about is a wedding which was too much to digest. Marriage has become such a societal pressure for girls that the movie shows how the men of this country can go to an extreme extent to marry them off. What is this pressure? Can women please get the liberty to choose their husbands, can women please get the time to get ready for the wedding? Can women not be treated as a liability?
I’m not going to deny or neglect the fact that the makers try to put in a social message in the second half of the film after showing the problematic situation of our country in the first half but it was the concept and the mindset that disappoints me. Surprisingly, the film is written by Himanshu Sharma and Kanika Dhillon who usually showcase strong women characters but it was quite the opposite in Raksha Bandhan.
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A story of a brother who made a promise to his dying mother that his sisters’ wedding is his priority, making his wedding plans secondary. With this huge responsibility resting on his shoulders, he does his best to ensure that his sisters are happily married.
Akshay Kumar plays the role of Lala Kedarnath whose sole motive in his life is to see his four sisters getting married. His character is a mixture of toxic and caring. Akshay plays the character with ease but it is the character that is problematic.
Bhumi Pednekar plays the role of Sapna, Lala’s would-be wife who has been waiting for the day when he will come to her doorstep with baaraat. Bhumi does a fair job though she reminds me of Jaya from Toilet Ek Prem Katha in some parts.
The supporting cast like Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Deepika Khanna and Smrithi Srikanth have done a commendable job playing Akshay’s feisty sisters and adding freshness to the movie.
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Overall, Raksha Bandhan tries hard to narrate a beautiful story of a sister and brother bond but with a problematic plot. It is a 2022 film but it seems to be made with a regressive mindset. It is not the kind of film I would want to watch it with my family or with my brother. I’m giving 1.5 stars just for the runtime as it ends in 1 hour and 50 mins, as well as for Sadia’s performance.
Watch the Raksha Bandhan trailer after the review: