Toilet Ek Prem Katha is not a film that aspires to be a great one. From clichéd love story plot to detailed lecture on sanity along with political motivations, this movie has many flaws when you analyze it on the scale of a quality movie. But the mission here is apparently to deliver a message to those people in the rural India about the significance of having a toilet in their own house. And because of that matter this idea to make a feature film that is definitely better than the Vidya Balan ad, deserves appreciation.
Keshav is this 36 year old bachelor who is desperate to get married. With the help of some foul plays he finally convinces his religious orthodox father and marries his love Jaya. But post marriage Jaya gets to know the fact that there is no toilet in Keshav’s house and for an educated girl like her, it was quite difficult to cope with that reality. Keshav’s temporary adjustments weren’t sufficient to solve the issue and the film talks about how eventually Keshav solves this issue.
I belong to a state (a really bad one in terms of Republic TV standards) where this issue doesn’t really exist. Even at those places where there is no toilet, I don’t think there is any sort of opposition on having a toilet. Toilet Ek Prem Katha is set in the rural north India where this is an issue. Religious believers and adamant elderly people are against the concept of Toilet and you can’t blame the makers of the film for taking up the challenge and using a mass medium like cinema to propagate this agenda. May be because of the fact that they have to cater this to an audience who are familiar to over the top cheesy films (mostly Bhojpuri) director Shree Narayan Singh and his team has made fewer efforts in making a script that looks fresh. The first half shows us a shallow romance which sort of glorifies the concept of stalking. And the second half has essays of preaching which can be used as ad campaigns for the Swahch Bharath mission.
Shree Narayan Singh has used nearly three hours to convey the story and in my opinion that is too much. And if you look at the structure of the film, you can clearly see that it is investing too much time on unimportant phases of the lead pair’s relationship and when the movie reaches the focus point there is hurry burry in the screenplay to include a lot of things like preaching speeches, glimpses of effective governance and cheesy visualization of self realization. At one point the UP CM says “If our PM can do demonetization to save the economy, can’t we do this much?”. Well I am not interested in a debate over that, but thanks to that statement the political agenda got exposed. Among the big dramas that unfold in the second half there were a few bits that worked in favor of the film. The camera has this obsession for top angle shots to show us the geography of the landscape. The visual effects were tacky. Music was okay and I have to say that the stalking song wasn’t good idea in a film like this.
It is hard to convince the audience that the Akshay Kumar we see on screen is just 36 years old. He portrays the character of Keshav in his usual style and there is one particular sequence where he scores when Keshav breaks down when the Toilet he built gets demolished. Bhumi Pednekar as the courageous Jaya delivers an earnest performance. Sudhir Pandey and Anupam Kher are there in other prominent roles but the surprise package was Divyendu Sharma who kept the humor track alive.
Toilet Ek Prem Katha is a below average cinema. But like I said in the beginning, the intention is to campaign for a cause and whatever compromises they have done are to attract that segment of audience. It is definitely better than the Government ads we see.
The intention is to campaign for a cause and whatever compromises they have done are to attract that segment of audience. It is definitely better than the Government ads we see.