TOILET: EK PREM KATHA

To begin with, the title as well as the subject matter of the film is risqué, at best.  In tackling this bold and gritty subject, Akshay Kumar seems to have temporarily forsaken his superstar aura and dauntlessly dived into a subject the current PM holds dear to his heart — Swachh Bharat campaign.
Keshav (Akshay), a liberal in his mid-30’s and whose father Panditji (Sudhir Pandey) is ultra-orthodox, marries Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) after a whirlwind courtship. But it’s Madgaon in UP and over three-fourths of the houses lack sanitation facilities—even the women being forced to defecate in the nearby fields. Jaya discovers this on the first morning at her husband’s house.
Even the idea of  constructing a toilet within their house is anathema to her father-in-law (he even gets his son married to a buffalo to rid him of his manglik curse), whose logic is ‘Jis aangan mein tulsi ho, wahaan shauch kaisey karein). This causes Jaya to leave for her maternal house.
The first half is needlessly extended to incorporate Keshav’s love affair with Jaya. How Keshav manages to beat the system, defy the odds and convince his father to go against his ‘ideals’ forms the latter part of the film. The best parts of the film are reserved for Keshav’s interactions with younger brother Naru (a great portrayal by Diyendu Sharma). Anupam Kher (as Jaya’s kaka), a known BJP sympathiser and Rajesh Sharma as the bureaucrat are good in their short screen time.
References to Hrithik Roshan and the alliterative use of ‘soch, shauch and sandaas’ are overdone at times. Akshay, however delivers a credible performance and Bhumi Pednekar, in only her second film, is noteworthy.
With dialogues containing the demonetization issue sounding suspiciously like government propaganda and with needless songs cropping up like speed breakers, director Shree Narayan Singh misses out on making it a film with a strong social message.

Hoshang K. Katrak
Hoshang K. Katrak

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