Smrithi Srikanth refutes claims that Raksha Bandhan promotions were ‘fake’ | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Smrithi Srikanth refutes claims that Raksha Bandhan promotions were fake: 'Akshay Kumar really bought us sarees, pearls'

Aug 19, 2022 08:59 PM IST

Actor Smrithi Srikanth opened up about working in her first film, Raksha Bandhan with Akshay Kumar during an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times.

Actor Smrithi Srikanth swears by the magic of Shah Rukh Khan’s magic words--Kehte hain agarkisi cheezko dil sechaho… to poori kainath use tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai. With hard work and a lot of manifestation, Smrithi got launched in Bollywood alongside Akshay Kumar in Raksha Bandhan and she couldn’t have asked for more. During a conversation with Hindustan Times, the young actor revealed, “It was my brother who helped to record my audition tape; It was meant to be!”

Smrithi Srikanth stars as one of Akshay Kumar's four sisters in the film, Raksha Bandhan.
Smrithi Srikanth stars as one of Akshay Kumar's four sisters in the film, Raksha Bandhan.

Tracing the whole process of getting her big break, Smrithi recalled, “I had sent Mukesh Chabbra my audition tapes and didn’t hear anything for the next 2-3 months.” It all happened during the lockdown when Smrithi was working as a dancer. “One day, I got a call and they said ‘you have been shortlisted. I had not told my family about the film until then. When I got to know that Akshay sir was a part of the movie, I was on cloud nine. That day I bought sweets home and touched the feet of my parents. To be honest, my parents were a little concerned in the beginning because I am not someone who comes from a filmy background. But everything vanished after I got Raksha Bandhan.”

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Smrithi further defined her experience of working with Akshay Kumar, her first official co-star. “As a person, sir is very humble. He is in a school of acting. He has an aura around him. I was a bit nervous initially. But, he was the one who broke the ice and made us comfortable. He would wait for us to have lunch together. He is very caring on the sets, Akshay sir is actually a very responsible and protective brother. He can be joking in a moment and after ten seconds, he can flip and get into his characters and start crying in an emotional scene.”

(Also read: Raksha Bandhan's Smrithi Srikanth recalls colourism during modelling days)

In Raksha Bandhan Akshay plays the role of a loving brother Lala Kedarnath who loves his four sisters—one of them being Smrithi. The actors had a blast working on the film and later spent days promoting it across the country. “While the shooting was fun, the promotion was on another level. We played games during our flights. Since he lost in one, he promised to get us one souvenir from each city where we went for the promotion; anything special from each place.”

On social media, Akshay had shared several glimpses of going places with his reel sisters and bought them several gifts—From chikankari kurtas in Lucknow to bandhani sarees from Ahmedabad to pearls from Indore. While many social media users called them a promotional stunt for the film, Smrithi revealed the truth, “I have all my gifts now. We even wore our pearl sets on the next day of our shoot. There’s nothing about showing it off on camera. This really happened. He actually bought all of those things for us. He did the payment. We even told him ‘sir rehne dijiye (please let it be)’, but he insisted ‘I want to make your experience memorable. Go ahead and just enjoy.’ It was very sweet of him.”

Raksha Bandhan highlights the social message against the dowry system in India. But, how relevant is it in current times? After many have called it ‘regressive’, the actor added, “The film talks about a very strong societal problem, hence the word regressive should not be used. Dowry is still very much prevalent. We might think that we have overcome it but there are a lot of people who are practising it. They might not call it dowry but see it as an obligation of gifts. Our film is the best answer for the patriarchal society.” The film also met with boycott trends on social media. But, nothing could take away the confidence of the newcomer, “Not even for once, I was worried. We were so busy working hard before the film's release.”

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