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Cliché and Regressive: 10 Honest Thoughts I Had About 'Raksha Bandhan'

If you think your brother is annoying, you haven’t seen Akshay Kumar’s character, Lala, from ‘Raksha Bandhan’ yet.

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Cliché and Regressive: 10 Honest Thoughts I Had About 'Raksha Bandhan'
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(This story contains spoilers).

Raksha Bandhan is the story of a brother, Lala Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar), a chaat seller in Chandni Chowk whose only goal in life is to fulfil his mother’s dying wish– to make sure his four younger sisters get married. Lala has pledged to marry only after his four sisters are settled, and the film revolves around his hunt for a suitable match for his sisters.

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1. Lala’s way of ensuring his sisters end up getting married is to change every. single. thing. about them. One of his sisters is too dark, another is too fat, and one isn’t girly enough. Akshay Kumar’s incessant comments on their appearance can actually be a fun drinking game. Take a shot whenever he or anyone else in the film fat shames or mocks the skin colour of his sisters. I assure you, you will be sloshed by the end of this film.

2. I have a very annoying brother who makes my life 10 times more difficult than it has to be, but after watching Raksha Bandhan, I went home and gave him a tight hug. I also touched his feet after tying him the rakhi and gave HIM a gift instead of taking one from him.

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3. At first glance, Raksha Bandhan looks like a drama-comedy entertainer. But make no mistake, this is also a sci-fi movie. How you ask? It includes time travel. The regressive comments, the outdated concept of brotherly love and protection are all so 1992 that you will feel like you have been transported to a whole new decade.

4. Akshay Kumar hires an agent to look for a suitable match for three of his sisters. The agent calls his plus-size sister “double-decker,” his dark-skinned sister “amavas ki raat” and his not-so-girly sister “chhota shakeel”. I was grinding my teeth so hard I thought they would fall out.

5. Bhumi Pednekar plays Akshay Kumar’s girlfriend who is upset because Akshay Kumar won’t marry her before ensuring his sisters are well-settled. He convinces her to marry someone else because of their uncertain situation, but not before promising to be the official chat server at her wedding, because, after all, they do have the best chat in all of Chandni Chowk. Indians have such a unique way of expressing love.

6. Not sure why Akshay Kumar looks so sad at Bhumi Pednekar’s wedding? Dude, you’re literally serving chaat. You are more important than any of the people at the wedding, including the bride and the groom. Everyone only cares about you and will give you more attention than the ceremony itself. Count your blessings.

7. Can someone check how Aanand L Rai is doing? I just cannot believe that the same man that made Tanu Weds Manu has also made this movie. On one hand, he showed a sensitive and considerate character like Manu Sharma played by R Madhavan, and on the other hand is Lala, who starts clichéd fights with goons in the middle of the road, manipulates his sisters in to marrying just about any guy, and lacks depth and feel in general.


8. One of Lala’s sisters that got married first dies by suicide after her in-laws keep pestering her for dowry. The incident shakes Lala to his core, who then has a change of heart and finally recognizes the evils of practising dowry. This plot, though well-intentioned, comes too late in the film and does not give Lala’s character enough time to redeem himself. Even though he has changed, I am unable to let go of the kind of brother he was.

9. The final 10 minutes of the film show how Lala is now encouraging his sisters to work on themselves and not look for validation in the form of marriage. One of his sisters becomes a lawyer, another becomes a police officer, and they all seem to be doing well for themselves now. The only sad part about this is that all of this is shown literally in the span of one song. Why was there so much focus on the nonsensical fat-shaming and body-shaming? They even inserted a completely unnecessary plot about how Lala isn’t their actual brother, but an adopted one, in the film but chose not to focus on this! What a shame. I would have loved to see these women doing well– this happy ending– a lot more than that regressive torture. They literally just skipped the good part.

10. All in all, dowry is a very sensitive subject. Even today, women in developed cities are losing their lives because of it. Raksha Bandhan could have been a fresh perspective on the issue from the lens of a troubled brother, but sadly, the film tries to focus its energies on outdated comedy and melodramatic plotlines instead.

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