Toilet: Ek Prem Katha : (2017) Movie Review
Toilet : Ek Prem Katha: Vidya Balan’s thirty second commercial on “Soch Badlo Shauchalaya Banao” gets stretched to a full length feature film starring superstar Akshay Kumar, who obviously likes to balance his filmography with “meaningful” cinema for every ‘Singh is Bliing’ (2015) he does. Expectedly, he is one of the strong reasons to visit this toilet. Notwithstanding, it’s excessive length and a bit of boredom creeping in the second half.
Apna Akshay plays an aging bachelor called Keshav from interior UP who is married to a water buffalo as he is a manglik. Next, his superstitious Panditji dad (Sudhir Pandey, efficient as ever) wants him to marry a girl with double thumb a la Hrithik Roshan. Problem – Keshav has already lost his dil to the state exam topper Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) who is not only intelligent but has a mind of her own.
The typical Indian jugaadu that he is, Keshav marries Jaya and the two enjoy a palang tod suhaagraat till the village ladies wake up the newly wedded girl to join the lota party which goes far away to relieve themselves before the sun rises. Yup, toilet is considered a sin in Keshav’s ultra conservative village and his own dad is biggest supporter of khula shauch.. Oh no!
More woe, Jaya ji is fed up of open defecation practice and decides to separate from Keshav to return to her maika where toilet was a given. Keshav then, fights not just the mindset of the village folk but also battles the bureaucracy to get a toilet installed in his pichda hua gaon. Wow!
At premise level, the film appears relevant only for the interiors of India which I believe, is still averse to building toilets as they consider it immoral to have it in a place which also houses the diety they worship. Undoubtedly, Toilet Ek Prem Katha is actually irrelevant for the urban audiences who may or may not connect with it at all (My ten year old son actually got frustrated with all the commotion over a loo!!!). Maybe, this subject would have found universal appeal some two or three decades ago.
On the positive, the casting is perfect. Bhumi Pednekar is first rate as the rebel wifey who loves her husband but cannot bow down to the regressive customs he follows. Here’s an actor to look out for. Anupam Kher leaves a mark in a guest appearance. It’s heartening to see Shuba Khote in a hindi movie after a long time.
Editing-wise, Toilet… should have been a near two hour film but instead, is needlessly stretched to more than two and half hours. What could’ve been avoided were the needless songs which act as speed breakers. Also, for a story set in UP, the characters speak Rajasthani language instead of Bhojpuri or shuddh hindi. Why? We dunno!!
All said and endured, Toilet Ek Prem Katha merits a watch for its top notch performances and its pertinent message of realising the Swachh Bharat dream of our honourable PM Modi ji. I award it an extra star just for that.
Ratings on some key aspects :
1. Acting: 4/5
2. Direction : 2/5
3. Music : 2/5
4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3/5
5. Cinematography : 3/5
6. Production Quality : 3.5/5
7. Action : NA