11 Aug 2017

Toilet:Ek Prem Katha: Propaganda Unlimited

The well-educated, (I have a toilet at home) Jaya falls for and marries cycle shop owner Keshav. Her joy is short-lived when she discovers that Keshav's village doesn't have a toilet. The village women go on long early morning walks to relieve themselves in the bushes. Jaya refuses to cave into such shaming practices. The marriage begins to crack and the couple's differences lead to a widespread social change.

Preachy Take
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a long-winded, forceful, aggressive government propaganda vaguely disguised as a movie. Open defecation is a relevant issue and large-scale toilet construction an arguably valid solution. Don't throw it up in our faces in a preachy, unmasked tone. At one moment, I felt the film's makers will step out of the screen and build a toilet right there in the cinema hall, and push me in to try it. It's that kind of a movie.

Genuinely Funny First Half
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha does pleasantly surprise when it smells of using the toilet as a metaphor for Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and Jaya's (Bhumi Pednekar) love story. The first half has outrageously funny moments, but you know where this is going.

The unusual love story build up is blown out of the way, as the second half dips into hyper dramatics, wayward monologues, and contrived eye-opening situations. The stink becomes evident.

Akshay Kumar Holds Fort 
Pity, for Akshay Kumar is in top-form be it the humor, drama or maudlin moments. Though clearly looking his age on the screen lately like his contemporaries, Kumar seems a better actor with every new release. Bhumi Pednekar is adequately fiery as the outspoken wife. Divyendu Sharma as Keshav's brother makes his presence felt. The underrated, rarely cast Sudhir Pandey plays the unyielding father with great conviction. Anupam Kher is a hoot.

But this is no free-willed, creative-burst of a film. Leave the undeniably multiple laugh-out moments, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a heavy, infuriated dose of a social-message injection.

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