Film: Raksha Bandhan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Sadia Khateeb, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth, Sahejmeen Kaur, Seema Pahwa and ensemble
Director: Aanand L Rai
Rating: 3.5 Moons
Akshay Kumar, who has been dominating the box office on festivals and public holidays, is back with yet another family massy entertainer with Aanand L Rai. Through Raksha Bandhan, Akshay, Bhumi Pednekar, Sadia Khateeb, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth, Sahejmeen Kaur, Seema Pahwa and others attempt to address a variety of social issues. But with ample humorous moments to acknowledge.
Set on the foundation of, “Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero,” Raksha Bandhan takes us straight to the narrow bylanes of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk where Lala Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar) looks after his ancestral chaat bhandar. Their pani puris come with an assurance that whenever a pregnant woman savors them, she’ll give birth to a baby boy. While managing the chaat bhandar is a task in itself, Lala struggles to get his four sisters married. Unique in their own way, Gayatri (Sadia Khateeb) is Lala’s favourite and most honhaar behen; one (Deepika Khanna) of them is fat-shamed by her brother, one (Smrithi Srikanth) is asked to try hacks to whiten her skin and the youngest (Sahejmeen Kaur) is trained to behave like a girl.
Lala made a promise to his mother on her deathbed to get married only after his sisters are settled. Like ‘Maryada Purshottam Ram,’ he chooses to keep the promise even if that means losing his childhood sweetheart Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar). Sapna’s father disapproves of Lala’s vachan and pressurizes him to marry his daughter within 6-8 months.
While Lala has to strike the right balance between his own love story and the promise, he is introduced to a matchmaker (Seema Pahwa) who manages to get Gayatri married. But his struggle doesn’t end here. His not-so-honhaar sisters are yet to find their suitable partners. Amid this, several shocking twists, revelations and eye-opening moments change the course of Lala and his sisters’ happy lives.
Raksha Bandhan is a befitting tribute to the bond shared by siblings. In a short and crisp film, Akshay and Aanand overload it with emotions, an important social message and harmless humour at regular intervals. It is expected from such films that the script and screenplay are the strongest but in this case, the performances by the lead cast elevate a decent narrative.
Raksha Bandhan, at times, comes across as regressive with little prominence given to the progressive portions. Jokes on physical appearance, weight, and disability like stammering are examples of what makes the narrative weak. Written by Kanika Dhillon and Himanshu Sharma, the film comes in full form in the second half which is high on emotions and drama. What’s laudable is Aanand’s directorial has its heart in the right place. Delivering enough teary scenes, this brother-sister-centric film will certainly touch hearts right from the first frame.
Akshay, who is at the helm, reminds us of the good old Hera Pheri days when his humour was unmatched and unparalleled. After watching Raksha Bandhan, all the single daughters will crave to have a brother like Lala Kedarnath who risks his life and love for the sake of his sisters.
Bhumi, despite getting limited scope, deserves praise for her screen presence and calming effect on the audience and the story. Sadia, the honhaar elder sister, gets maximum prominence after Akshay and Bhumi. She delivers a fine performance. Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth and Sahejmeen Kaur excel in what’s given to them. They, however, deserved more. Kudos to Deepika and Smrithi for shutting down trolls on weight and skin colour like true boss ladies.
Raksha Bandhan is the perfect emotional film that celebrates one of the most precious relationships in the world. Today, as India celebrates Raksha Bandhan, drive down to the nearest theatre with your siblings for this entertainer, but not without a packet of tissues.
PeepingMoon.com gives Raksha Bandhan 3.5 Moons