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      Raksha Bandhan Movie Review: Akshay Kumar-Bhumi Pednekar's Film Is Just A Dangling Thread

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      Rating:
      2.0/5
      Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Sahejmeen Kaur, Abhinay Raj Singh, Deepika Khanna
      Director: Aanand L Rai

      There's a scene in Raksha Bandhan in which Akshay Kumar's character Lala Kedarnath, who is unable to find prospective grooms for his four unmarried sisters, says, "Betiyon ke shaadi karne khud Mahadev aate hain." But, when the writing of a film goes awry, nothing can salvage the chaos on screen.

      After a 'hatke' love story Atrangi Re in 2021, Akshay Kumar and Aanand L Rai join hands again; this time for an emotional drama with a social theme. Unfortunately, their latest outing hardly gives us any reason to celebrate.

      What's Yay: Akshay Kumar's on-screen sisters share a breezy camaraderie

      What's Nay: Script, Direction

      Story

      Story

      Set in the locales of Chandni Chowk, Raksha Bandhan opens with Lala Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar) who owns a 'pushtaini' chat shop. There's a word in the town that pregnant ladies who gulp gol gappas at his eatery are blessed with a male child.

      On the other hand, Kedarnath is a brother to four unmarried sisters, each of them facing prejudices for different reasons. While Gayatri (Sadia Khateeb) is the sarvgun sampanna one of the lot, Durga (Deepika Khanna) faces body shaming for being on the chubbier side. Laxmi (Smrithi Srikanth) is constantly reminded of her dusky complexion and the tomboyish Saraswati (Sahejmeen Kaur) is told that she has been fed on too much of 'Ghayal and Ghatak'.

      Meanwhile, Kedarnath's 'bachpan ka pyaar' Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar) is eager to get hitched to him. But the latter refuses to oblige because of his promise to his mother on her deathbed that he would tie the knot only after he has fulfilled his responsibility of marrying off his sisters.

      After a lot of hassles, Kedarnath finally gets one of his sisters Gayatri hitched. Will the rest three also find their respective life partners? Will Kedarnath and Sapna's love story get a happy ending? The rest of the film holds the answers to these questions.

      Direction

      Direction

      Director Aanand L Rai is known for capturing the small town milieu in an engaging way on screen. The female characters in his movies are generally etched strong and have a choice and a power to reject. However, Raksha Bandhan seems to be an exception where the man does all the heavy-lifting while the woman believes that 'kismat se jyaada aur waqt se pehle kuch nahin hoga.'

      One doesn't deny that the dowry system is still prevalent in some parts of the country where this evil is disguised as 'gifts'. But, it's the writer duo Himanshu Sharma and Kanika Dhillon's writing that's filled with regressive elements which dilute the larger cause.

      Body shaming and colour shaming terms are casually dropped in the narrative. Sharma and Dhillon do try to make amends by getting their female protagonists to mouth body positivity dialogues. However, their voices are feeble. The scattered writing barely engages and you are left wondering where the film is headed.

      Performances

      Performances

      Akshay Kumar makes the most out of the mediocre script and delivers a good act. Be it as a commited lover or a helpless brother, the actor plays the emotions well. Bhumi Pednekar as Akshay's love interest draws your attention in tids and bits simply because her acting chops are underutilized.

      The four ladies- Sadia Khateeb, Deepika Khanna, Smrithi Shrikanth and Sahejmeen Kaur are effective in their respective roles. One wished that the writers had added more depth to their characters and given them a 'voice' which would have made a louder impact.

      Technical Aspects

      Technical Aspects

      KU Mohanan's cinematography boosts of bright, vibrant palette which gels well with the theme of the film. Hemal Kothari settles for an okayish editing.

      Music

      Music

      The songs composed by Himesh Reshammiya lacks recall value. However, they work fine when they play out in the narrative of the film.

      Verdict

      Verdict

      In one of the sequences in Raksha Bandhan, Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar) is seen pleading with Kedarnath to reconsider his decision of asking her to marry someone else. "Main karungi na tumara intezaar," she says and tries to convince him. Unfortunately, the audience doesn't have that much patience to watch a problematic mess unfold on screen. In a nutshell, Raksha Bandhan is a film stuck in a time warp.

      We give 2 stars out of 5 to Akshay Kumar-Bhumi Pednekar's Raksha Bandhan.

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