Strange IndiaStrange India

Akshay Kumar with his co-stars. (courtesy: akshaykumar)Mumbai: Film buffs are spoilt for choice this long weekend with two of Bollywood’s biggest stars going head to head at the box office. Akshay Kumar’s Raksha Bandhan releases tomorrow, on the actual holiday of Raksha Bandhan, and it will compete for eyeballs with another biggie – Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha. Speaking to NDTV, Akshay was hopeful that there will be space for both films. “It’s a big week and we have about three to four holidays. Me and Aamir pray that both the films run,” he said. The holiday weekend begins with Raksha Bandhan tomorrow and ends with Independence Day on Monday, August 15.At first glance, the two films couldn’t be more different – Raksha Bandhan stars Akshay Kumar as the harried brother of four sisters, for whom he must arrange weddings before being able to marry himself; Laal Singh Chaddha is a remake of Tom Hanks’ Oscar-winning hit Forrest Gump. Akshay co-stars with four new talents who play his sisters with Bhumi Pednekar cast as his love interest. Laal Singh Chaddha stars not just Aamir Khan but also Kareena Kapoor with Naga Chaitanya in a pivotal role.Both films, however, share a common theme – an emotional core overlaid by a comic patina.The box office clash would have never been had Laal Singh Chaddha released per its original schedule. The VFX-heavy film has been rescheduled several times; its previous release date would have seen it compete with Yash’s KGF: Chapter 2, which smashed box office records.Whether or not either Raksha Bandhan or Laal Singh Chaddha will set the box office ablaze remains to be seen – both films have faced the sharp end of social media with calls for boycott from trolls based on comments Aamir Khan made in 2015 and tweets that Raksha Bandhan writer Kanika Dhillon posted recently.”There’s no point of doing that,” Akshay Kumar told NDTV about the calls for boycott, “We’re hurting our own economy… Few people who are saying it, OK good luck.”Raksha Bandhan, directed by Aanand L Rai, co-stars Sadia Khateeb, Sahejmeen Kaur, Smrithi Srikanth and Deepika Khanna as Akshay Kumar’s screen sisters.

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