Raksha Bandhan Movie Review: Akshay Kumar & Aanand L Rai's film is largely superficial
Planning to watch Raksha Bandhan over the weekend? Here's the Pinkvilla review of this Akshay Kumar and Aanand L Rai film.
Film Name: Raksha Bandhan
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar & others
Director: Aanand L Rai
Rating: 2 Stars
On paper, Raksha Bandhan might have tick marked all the formulas to make the audience cry – a family of orphans wherein the brother is bestowed with the responsibility of raising four sisters, a conflict of Dowry Death and finally, a speech on women empowerment. But none of it comes together, as the direction and writing team, Aanand L Rai, Himanshu Sharma and Kanika Dhillon, seems to be in a hurry to wrap up all of it together in a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The film falters first on the writing front and then on the execution front - The characters don’t have a graph whereas the screenplay jumps at a speed that all of the emotions end up being superficial. The film establishes Akshay Kumar’s character of Kedarnath as someone who can’t hear a thing against his sister, but the inconsistency is such that the same character does nothing when one of sister has to face consequences of Dowry. Raksha Bandhan is faulty at the thought level itself, and probably needed a better thread, a better conflict that brings all of it together effectively.
The film has some positives, as the cinematography is indeed colourful with a flavour of festivals, whereas the music has a soul. However, the same can’t be said about the placement of songs in the narrative. The film has some genuinely funny dialogues, but there’s nothing that you take home from them. The editing is so crisp and so tight that leave alone the audience, it doesn’t even give the characters the breathing space to put forth their emotions. There’s a sequence where Kedarnath aka. Akshay Kumar sells off his kidney to get one of the sisters married but even before this big conflict explodes, the makers overlap it with the sub-track dowry death. There is a redemption towards the end, but it's too little and too late.
Talking of performances, Akshay Kumar is honest in portrayal of a small-town Gol Gappa seller, Kedarnath. It’s his presence that actually makes the film a little watchable. He throws those one-liners with confidence and even gets the pulse right in the emotional scenes. His performance is let down by the script. Bhumi Pednekar as Sapna is rather too loud in her approach to acting. The four sisters, Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Smrithi Srikanth and Deepika Khanna, are fine but don’t have enough meat in their characters. For a major chunk of narrative, they are reduced to being comic relief. Seema Pahwa is wasted and same can be said for Neeraj Sood too.
All in all, a pure title like Raksha Bandhan warranted a better film. The film has all the trappings to manipulate the audience on the emotional front, but nothing really connects towards the end due to the rather superficial treatment.