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Producers- Aanand L.Rai Himanshu Rai and Zee Studios

Director- Aanand L. Rai

Star Cast- Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Sadia Khateeb, Sehejmeen Kaur, Depika Khanna, Smriti Srikant , Seema Pahwa and Manurishi Chadda

Genre- Social

Platform of Release- Theatrical

Rating- ***

Heartwarming Tearjerker

Jyothi Venkatesh

The film revolves almost entirely on the shoulders of Lala Kedarnath,(Akshay Kumar) the eldest and only brother and the responsibility for his four sisters’ marriage.

What follows are his relentless efforts to ensure his sisters get settled down in marriage before marrying Sapna, (Bhumi Pednekar) his childhood sweetheart. Will he be able to keep his promises, or does fate have other plans for him?

The film is set in and around Chandni Chowk, in New Delhi where Lala Kedarnath owns an ancient panipuri shop. He is popular, especially among the pregnant women who believe that after gulping down gol gappas from his shop, they will be blessed by God up there to give birth to a baby boy.

Even in his personal life, he is surrounded by a gang of four sisters— sensible and responsible Gayatri (Sadia Khateeb), chubby Durga (Deepika Khanna), dusky Laxmi (Smrithi Srikanth), and tomboyish Saraswati (Sahejmeen Kaur) — and, of course, his girlfriend, Sapna (Bhumi Pednekar).

A series of incidents happen with Lala doing his level best to get suitors for his sisters especially since Lala had made a promise to his mother on her deathbed that he would tie the knot only after he has fulfilled his responsibility of marrying all the four his sisters into suitable homes.

Despite his best efforts he does not at all succeed in marrying off his sisters. Every prospective groom that Lala meets asks for a fat dowry. The demands are incessantly ridiculous and Lala has no option but to even sell one of his kidneys to marry off one sister. Obviously, Lala’s love and affection and devotion to his sisters affect his romantic life with Sapna.

The flip point is that in a desperate bid to be comic and elicit laughter, the dialogues are so regressive and targeted at women that you may find them repulsive when Lala addresses a fat sister as a double decker and a sultry sister with a dark complexion as amavas ki raat. Also it is tad to find prospective groom’s relatives gulping down one samosa after the other when they come to see the bride.

Kudos to Akshay Kumar for setting out to effectively convey his character Lala’s various bitter as well as sweet emotions at different points in the film.

Whether he is playing the helpless brother or committed lover, the actor is in form throughout and having observed him as an actor for the last 30 years, I’d vouchsafe that this is indeed the best ever performance of his in his career till date.

Though the film is melodramatic and a tearjerker of the first order, the truth is that Akshay manages to extract tears from the eyes of the viewers as they watch the film. The best thing about Akshay is that hhe puts so much passion into it, it will be difficult to hold back tears. He lets his vulnerability take over in the scene and it is a treat to watch.

Bhumika is excellent while all the four sisters played by Sadia Khateeb, Sehejmeen Kaur, Depika Khanna, Smriti Srikant , who happen to be newcomers are also good in the parts allotted to them and it very difficult to pinpoint who is better than whom.

Seema Pahwa is good though she has a short role while a gifted actor like Manurishi Chadda has been wasted in an inane role just to bring out laughs.

To sum up, Raksha Bandhan is a heartwarming message oriented as well as likeable film to drive away the blues though it is at the same time also a tad melodramatic tearjerker

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