Aanand L Rai’s Raksha Bandhan has been making headlines for quite sometime now. All eyes are on the Akshay Kumar-starrer as the movie inches towards release. It is clashing at the box office with another much-awaited film, the Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha. While the debate over which film will fare better continues to rage, The Free Journal got in a candid chat with Aanand L Rai about the movie.
The director is known for making love stories in an unusual way and has tried his hands on the purest form of love — sibling love — in Raksha Bandhan. When asked about how this shift from intense love stories to brother-sister bond happened in his narrative, he reveals, “I think it’s about time and how you grow. I was in the middle of making Atrangi Re when the first lockdown happened in 2020. We were locked in our houses for a couple of months with insecurities as to where this pandemic will take us worrying everyone. In those caged days, I had nothing to do but spend time with my family. I also realised how badly I was deprived of these relationships. I don’t remember when I last spent much time with my family.”
Adding further, he says, “This was a game-changer for me and made me question why we take it for granted. It was a beautiful time that nourished me as a filmmaker as well. Raksha Bandhan is a story for a family rather than just a brother-sister bond narrative. If I see a film like Raksha Bandhan with my family, I am making it for the whole of India because I am a part of this country.”
Aanand L Rai’s directorials have a certain colour to them, which he has kept intact in Raksha Bandhan too. “It is difficult for me to describe it. Whenever we work in the office, be it on Raksha Bandhan or Atrangi Re, deep down we try to be honest. We wanted to tell our stories to the real India, which is such a big spread, beyond Mumbai. Also, we aren’t trying to impress ourselves, we are just trying to tell stories. The objective is to be a good storyteller,” he reveals.
When asked if keeping the social relevance in mind while making this film was challenging, he shares, “It is a challenge but it is a part of my job. I should have a reason to tell a story. The moment you find a reason, that’s how you stay relevant.”
On a parting note, Aanand spills the beans on the fresh casting of three girls, who are also the poster girls along with Akshay and one-film-old Sadia Khateeb. “I wanted all four girls without the baggage simply because I was dealing with the purest form of love. I needed that kind of purity. With Akshay sir as a spine, I wanted too much love between all of them. I was sure of casting Sadia since she has an important role,” he concludes.