Art & Entertainment

Akshay Kumar's 'Raksha Bandhan' Writer Kanika Dhillon On The Film's Sexist Plot: 'Was Meant For Cow-Belt'

Kanika says that the film is a reflection of official statistics on dowry deaths in India

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Raksha Bandhan Movie Review
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Screenwriter Kanika Dhillon, who has received critical acclaim for writing a strong plot for Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal’s starrer 'Manmarziyaan', drew flak for being sexist and regressive with Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar’s 'Raksha Bandhan'

The writer has now addressed the issue and says that the film was made for the “cow belt” of India and not the urban population.

Kanika said that the film is a reflection of official statistics on dowry deaths in India. “We made the film, wrote the film for the cow belt, the Hindi belt. What is this Hindi belt? Here a lot of women, the statistics is staggering, suffer dowry deaths."

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"The statistics is telling us that there is a society that exists who thinks like Lala Kedarnath (Akshay Kumar’s character in Rakhsha Bandhan). They treat women like they’re cattle, they’re being objectified and being prepared for the dowry market. They’re being conditioned to become thin or fair, to think that if someone whistles at you, you’re supposed to marry them. Why else are the women dying? This mindset and regressive ideas are responsible," she tells the Indian Express.

Dhillon also shared how the film showed the realities of rural India and made the urban audience uncomfortable to the extent that they didn’t relate to it.

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“We are so far away from the rural India, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Yes, it make us uncomfortable, yes we don’t want to relate to it because we know better. However, by design, we wanted to make this film for the cow belt. The only miscalculation, the misfire that happened is that the youth didn’t want to engage with something like that, the urban audience thought it was a very cow belt kind of a thing. But we did get the Hindi belt, you can see the trade.

"It did extremely well in the interiors but yet we did not manage to convert the urban audience because of the theme of the film and the treatment of it. We were trying to aim for a different kind of an audience but that’s a different debate all together. We reached the audience we wanted to and we showed what is happening there. We wanted to move from the regressive to the progressive, and for that we have to tell you what is wrong, before we show you what is right," she tells the publication.

Directed by Aanand L. Rai and co-written by Himanshu Sharma, the film also stars Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Smrithi Srikanth and Deepika Khanna.

The film was theatrically released on 11 August 2022, coinciding with Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day.

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