Raksha Bandhan Movie Review

On paper, Raksha Bandhan seems to have all the ingredients for an emotionally powerful performance: a brother has to raise four sisters after their parents die; a dowry death battle happens; and the performance ends with a speech about women’s rights. It’s that Aanand L. Rai, Himanshu Sharma, and Kanika Dhillon, the film’s directors and writers, rush through so much material in the film’s 1 hour and 50 minute length since it doesn’t pay off.

Raksha Bandhan Movie Review

Both the script and the direction are weak; the characters lack depth and the narrative skips about so quickly that the film’s emotions never develop beyond the surface level. Despite the fact that Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar) is portrayed in the film as someone who will not tolerate anything being spoken about his sister, he does nothing when one of his sisters is forced to bear the penalties of Dowry.

There is a problem with Raksha Bandhan at the level of idea itself; it would have benefited with a stronger unifying theme or antagonist. Some good things can be said about this movie: the visuals are vibrant and magical of festival atmospheres, and the music truly moves you.

The narrative integrity, however, is not maintained by the integration of songs. There are some funny lines in the movie, but you won’t remember them after seeing the film. The editing is so sharp and tight that it doesn’t even give the characters room to show their feelings.

The scene in which Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar) sells his kidney to arrange the marriage of one of his sisters is layered over the sub-plot involving a dowry-related death. At the very end, there is a hint of hope, but it comes far too late.

When it comes to acting, I have to say that Akshay Kumar’s portrayal of Kedarnath, a Gol Gappa vendor in a small town, is really genuine. His participation in the film is what saves it from being completely unwatchable. He confidently delivers one-liners and captures the audience’s attention in more complicated sequences. The writing does not do justice to his performance.

Bhumi Pednekar’s performance as Sapna, however, is a bit over the top. Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Smrithi Srikanth, and Deepika Khanna, the four sisters, are good yet their characters are underdeveloped. As the story progresses, they become increasingly comical. Seema Pahwa, like Neeraj Sood, is a misplaced talent.

Overall, a film with such a straightforward title as Raksha Bandhan deserved better. Even though the film has all the makings of an effective emotional manipulation, nothing clicks at the end due to the superficiality of the approach.

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