TOILET: EK PREM KATHA
The entire human race can be categorized in two ways: those who have the luxury of defecating in the “privacy” of their homes and those who have no alternative but to defecate in the open. And in India, the second category accounts for more than 60 percent of our population! Driven mostly by poverty and partially by anachronistic beliefs and fueled by the lack of education on sanitation, this topic reeks of stink all over. And for those in the privileged first category, the logical thing is to close their eyes and shut their nostrils at the very mention of this rather serious issue. I am not surprised at all that this elite group hasn’t taken kindly to TOILET: EK PREM KATHA, which should be lauded at least for its theme.
Editor Shree Narayan Singh and Actor Akshay Kumar seem to share a good bond, having worked together in BABY and RUSTOM and now in TOILET: EK PREM KATHA, he wields the megaphone as well. And given the constraints of the script, he manages to drive home the problem of defecation in the open in the first half in a satirical and yet entertaining manner. Both Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar (who played a stellar role in DUM LAGAKE HAISHA) are spontaneous and impactful in their performances. And the “Lota Party” satire is indeed insightful, about how those who are in the second category, try to make light of their grave problem.
Where TOILET: EK PREM KATHA flounders and strips itself of all the kudos for the first half is the solution and the execution. And knowing this well, the writers desperately seek to find support in the present government’s laudable schemes to improve sanitation and turn it into a half-baked propaganda vehicle. Even if I were to see this movie through the eyes of a person in the second category, I would whole heartedly appreciate the first half and get rather dismayed at the dishonest portrayals in the second half. I see a beautiful opportunity having been missed out to bring home the ugly realities of open defecation and working towards a solution.
There are more songs than what can be fitted in the story telling, and even the seasoned Sudhir Pande seems to exercise his vocal chords more than is necessary. If I belong to the second category, I can understand why Anupam Kher and his ‘Sunny” referenced dialogues have been included. And if the title had been SHAUCHALAY: A LOVE STORY, would it have made a difference? I don’t know.
RATING: 3 out of 5
August 12th, 2017