Raksha Bandhan is a special occasion for Shabana Azmi, Farah Khan and Urmila Matondkar. It is the day when they renew bonds with their brothers by tying the silken rakhi thread on their wrists.
Shabana Azmi: "If I'm in India I make sure to be at home for this occasion every year. I've a deep emotional attachment to Raksha Bandhan. I tie a simple red thread on my brother Baba. Amazingly the thread remains on his wrist for the whole year. Baba never cuts or opens it.
His wife Tanvi prepares the thali. The mithai is substituted by a piece of chocolate. Earlier, Baba used to give me Rs.100 on Raksha Bandhan. Now it's Rs.500. Baba is very possessive about the rakhi. He doesn't allow anyone else to tie him a rakhi.
He says he has only one sister. And that makes my heart swell in pride. After tying the rakhi I sing 'Bhaiyya mere rakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana', half jokingly half seriously."
Urmila Matondkar: "After a long time I have my brother Kedar near me on Raksha Bandhan. For years now when he was in the Air Force I had to do a long-distance rakhi ceremony with him. I think it's so inadequate to send the rakhi in an envelope with the tikka and rice in a paper pouch. It reduces Raksha Bandhan to a cold and clinical exercise. The whole idea of the festival is to bring siblings close, make them both feel special and tied together. That's why I'm looking forward to Raksha Bandhan this year. After years I have Kedar at a hand's distance. I have taken time off from the shooting of 'Speed' to visit him. Hopefully now that he's not in the air force I'll have my brother with me for future Raksha Bandhans."
Raveena Tandon: "Sadly I'm out of town this year on Raksha Bandhan. But my brother Rajiv will be remembered the whole day. My dad always said he had two sons, me and my brother. In our family both the son and daughter were treated as equals. But one day when I happily felt like a sister was on Raksha Bandhan. Besides my own brother, I've a couple of rakhi brothers, including one in Patna to whom I send a rakhi every year religiously, come rain or shine."
Farah Khan: "Raksha Bandhan is the only day when my brother Sajid and I don't fight, ha ha. This is the first Raksha Bandhan when I'm not living in the same house as Sajid (I moved out after my marriage). So I'm going over to Sajid's place to put tikka and tie the rakhi. If I'm lucky he'll give me a gift in return. Sajid and I have shared a lot together. My favourite song is 'Phoolon ka taaron ka sab ka kehna hai, ek hazaaron mein meri behna hai'. I don't have to tell you why."
Ekta Kapoor: "Rakshha Bandhan is the day I get to legally siphon money from my brother Tusshar. He's too sweet and innocent. I want to play Tusski's Didi not just on Raksha Bandhan but all the time."
Kavita Barjatya (Sooraj Barjatya's sister): "Since I'm the youngest sister I get pampered the most. Raksha Bandhan is a reminder that my brothers are there for me all the time. Since we all stay together in a joint family (not unlike one of Soorajji's films!) I tie a rakhi on both my brother Soorajji and Rajatji. Like every year, this year too all the sisters will be visiting for Raksha Bandhan. It's an overwhelming experience every year, and great fun. We tie rakhi on our Bhabhis and my nephews and nieces as well. By the end of the ceremony the entire clan has its hands full."