Bollywood’s Akshay Kumar calls dowry ‘extortion’, says fathers and brothers pushed to do more than they are capable of
Bollywood’s Akshay Kumar is starring in Raksha Bandhan, a film based on the difficulties faced by women in India and how dowry plays an important part in their weddings. He thinks the entire idea of dowry is akin to “extortion” and a malpractice that continues to plague India till this date.
“We cannot disagree with the fact that dowry is very much there in India. It’s in the layers. Some call it dowry, gift, ‘sankalp’. It has different names,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday, reported The Indian Express.
“Some demand that they want to have the wedding on a large scale. I would call it extortion. The father, the brother are not that capable, and yet they try to do as much as they can so that it [the wedding] happens.”
The actor was speaking at a promotional event for the film that addresses the issue of dowry. Kumar plays a brother to four sisters in the movie who struggles to meet the dowry demands. Calling Raksha Bandhan a “sensitive” film, he said not many movies target such subjects. “If the film works even on 5 to 10 per cent of people who watch it, I’ll feel as if I have made the biggest film ever,” he added.
The film will be releasing in Indian theatres this week alongside Aamir Khan’s Hindi adaptation of Tom Hanks Forrest Gump titled Laal Singh Chaddha.
The actor reiterated that the release of the two films is beneficial for the industry even if they drop on the same day as both need to do well in order for good films to release in the near future.
“I see that the glass is half full, not half empty. There’s no clash, no effect [at the box office]. Both films should work and we support each other,” he said.
Film director Aanand L Rai, who was also present at the event, said that the story of the upcoming film took shape during the initial lockdown amid Covid-19. It follows Raju, played by Kumar, a shop owner who is struggling to get his four younger sisters married. It features Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Deepika Khanna and Smrithi Srikanth as Kumar’s on-screen sisters.