Writers who are totally ignorant of society’s changes in gender-oriented debates can only write something like Raksha Bandhan. The new Anand L Rai film written by Himanshu Sharma and Kanika Dhillon is that ’80s movie that time traveled to 2022. This 110 minutes long Beti Padhao Burden Hatao ad campaign is the movie equivalent of patriarchal care.
Lala Kedarnath from Chandni Chowk runs a chaat shop. His chaat shop is famous for something very interesting. It is believed that pregnant women who eat golgappas from there will have a male child. Meanwhile, the biggest task ahead of Lala is the marriage of his four sisters. Since he has given his mother his word, he can marry his lover Swapna only after the marriage of all his sisters. Lala’s efforts to find a groom for all his sisters are what we see in Raksha Bandhan.
Anand L Rai and Himanshu Sharma are known for grabbing that urban middle-class texture in their films. This one also falls in the same category. But the underdeveloped script that goes after crude humor is underwhelming and sometimes unbearable. The caring brother Lala is a confusing package. He won’t marry until his sisters are married, but the same guy will body shame them when they are rejected. He will make fun of the physical disability of people, and at the same time, he will make his sisters marry those people without letting them know about the limitations of their future partner.
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Dowry is a social evil, and it might well be the “message” of this movie. But the inherent patriarchy makes this movie’s makers believe that a woman is always a man’s responsibility. And marriage is the ultimate purpose of their life. And what you see on screen is a crying brother and a screaming father. One wants his sisters to get married, and the other wants to see his daughter getting married. Even when Lala realizes that education is what his sisters need, his ultimate goal is to get them married. In the second half, the movie goes completely haywire, and Anand L Rai thought Akshay Kumar’s one-man show in the sequence featuring the stuttering twins was funny. Himesh Reshammiya’s music was forgettable.
Akshay Kumar is that loud Akshay Kumar once again, and frankly, it is tough to feel for this character who is practically torturing his sisters with insensitive demands. The makers should be given a special award for choosing Bhumi Pednekar as Akshay Kumar’s childhood love. The only purpose of that character is to cry regularly like a confused heroine of the ’90s masala films. The sisters are played by Sadia Khateeb, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Srikanth, and Sahejmeen Kaur. In a movie that is crowded with a screaming, panting Akshay Kumar, these women don’t have much to do.
More than being problematic, Raksha Bandhan looks like a terribly written film with no layers or efforts. In the last 30 minutes of the film, the preaching is deafening high, and just as I guessed, there was a statistic shown on the screen about how many women die in India due to dowry-related torture.
This 110 minutes long Beti Padhao Burden Hatao ad campaign is the movie equivalent of patriarchal care.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended