Aanand L. Rai’s “Raksha Bandhan” could have made a suitable remark if it had been released at least five years ago. In other words, the modern world is already aware of the messages in this film. From dowry to fat shaming and racism, it seemed like Aanand L. Rai had been keeping the script for a long time as numerous works are being done on these issues every day. The story takes place in Old Delhi, where eve-teasing is a common thing. The makers have managed to show many aspects, yet they failed in almost each of them. Even the title of the film was unable to describe the main message of the story.
What Happens In Aanand L. Rai’s ‘Raksha Bandhan’ Film?
Kedar Nath (Akshay Kumar) is a chaat vendor in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi. He had forsworn to his foster mother that he would not marry until his four sisters got married first. Marrying off four sisters is challenging because of the unending demands from the boys’ house. Kedar Nath’s foster father used to sell golgappas to pregnant women, saying that they could use it to have a son. This ritual is followed by Kedar, too, as pregnant women always line up in front of his shop wishing for a male child. However, it was not a real thing, as Kedar openly admitted that girl or boy, his golgappas had nothing to do with it. But, when people follow superstitions, nothing can stop them.
On the other hand, the four sisters, Gayatri (Sadia Khateeb), Lakshmi (Smrithi Srikanth), Durga (Deepika Khanna), and Saraswati (Sahejman Kaur), made another woman’s life very challenging, i.e., Kedar’s childhood girlfriend, Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar). The other three sisters, apart from Gayatri (she was perfect as a bride), required some grooming as Durga weighed too much, Lakshmi’s complexion was dark, and Saraswati grew up to become a tomboy. Due to Kedar’s pledge to his mother, Sapna, too, could not get married to him. Her father threatened Kedar that if he could not get his sisters married within six months, he would find a boy for Sapna. After that, a neighbor invited Kedar to his daughter’s marriage and told him about a matchmaker named Shanu (Seema Pahwa). Shanu somehow managed to find a groom for Gayatri, and she got married.
After several events, we found that Kedar was selling off one of his kidneys for 50 lakh rupees. He had already mortgaged the shop for Gayatri’s dowry, and now he needed to gather more than 60 lacs for the other three sisters, as estimated by Shanu. On returning home, Kedar got a phone call from which he came to know about Gayatri’s death. He ran to the place and saw Gayatri lying there. A neighbor screamed at him and said that Gayatri’s in-laws used to torture her for a double-door refrigerator. They even told her that she wouldn’t be able to attend the “Raksha Bandhan” festival until their demands were met. This made Kedar distraught, and after Gayatri’s cremation, he opened the shop at night and threw stones at the image of his late father. He screamed at the picture and swore that he would make his remaining sisters capable enough that no one would ask for a dowry; instead, they would ask for themselves. He also told Sapna to get married to a boy that her father would choose.
Soon after, Sapna’s father broke her marriage on behalf of Kedar. The groom, who was about to marry Sapna, revealed that he liked Lakshmi from the beginning and wanted to marry her. Lakshmi, too, got married, and almost 12 years later, Durga became a successful lawyer and married a batchmate. Saraswati became a police officer and married a colleague. Finally, as Kedar’s every pledge became successful, he arrived in front of her house riding on a horse.
‘Raksha Bandhan’ Ending Explained: What Does Kedar Nath Represent As A Character?
Kedar is a good brother and an even better son. He was once an orphan who was brought home by Gayatri’s father. However, there has not been any established backstory of how Kedar grew up that can explain his generalized racist comments about his sisters. But, we see that Kedar’s father used to sell golgappas to pregnant women by saying they would have a boy child. Yes, he protects his sisters from eve-teasers, but he is also racist and calls his sister “fat on her face.” They had no problem with their dark complexion, or obesity, or being tomboys, but Kedar mocked them every time.
Kedar spent most of his life with the like-minded people in Chandni Chowk, and he generated the idea that nobody would marry a dark girl, a fat girl, or a girl who doesn’t know any household work. So, he represents the mindset of every other man in society. Even so, he argues against a woman who tries to stop the dowry system by saying she is trying to make the girls’ fathers feel ashamed. From his perspective, a father feels proud by marrying off his daughter, even if it costs him a fortune. It is a father’s or brother’s honor that he can accumulate so much money to get their daughters or sisters married. However, after Gayatri’s suicide, his whole concept changed, and he swore that he would do everything to make his sisters independent. Kedar is never abusive to his sisters, but calling a dark-skinned woman “kali,” a fat woman “moti,” and a tomboy “Sunny Deol” in public is not acceptable. However, Kedar submits to his mistakes by assuring a bright future for his sisters. But since the character represents the whole society, does society submit to its flaws?
Aanand L. Rai seems to have lost the grip he once had in his storytelling. What happened to the director who once told us a story like “Raanjhanaa”? He used to excel at building a plot for a particular event. Did he lose his touch? Or was he denied the freedom of execution? We don’t know much about that, but “Raksha Bandhan” is definitely a disaster in terms of writing and execution. The sisters are suddenly motivated to help Kedar so that he can marry his childhood love. Why? How? Unexplained! Durga’s interest in studying law or Saraswati’s interest in becoming a police officer never popped up. A tomboy turned out to be a police officer. Does that sound okay? When some hooligans teased the sisters, Saraswati showed her interest in becoming like them. However odd this may sound, she was always the badass type. The problem with the story was that they all became successful without much struggle from when Kedar took the pledge to make his sisters independent. From that point, the whole story is heavily rushed and disastrous.
The songs are unbearable, with a 90s vibe residing in them. So much for experimenting with new filmmaking techniques. Apart from Akshay Kumar, no one contributed much in terms of acting. Bhumi Pednekar had her share of time on screen, and she was just as good as always while expressing her frustration. It is the screenplay’s fault as there was too much focus on Kedar, leaving other important characters in the film. If we were to rate “Raksha Bandhan,” it would be two stars out of five. Who releases a film named “Raksha Bandhan” on the day of “Raksha Bandhan”? What’s next? “Gandhi Jayanti” on October 2nd? Oh, Bollywood! You amaze me with your unpredictable moves.
“Raksha Bandhan” is a 2022 Indian Drama Comedy film directed by Aanand L. Rai.