Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a Bollywood movie released in August 2017 staring Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Sudhir Pandey, Anupam Kher and Divyendu Sharma in lead roles. The movie has been edited and directed by Shree Narayan Singh and produced by Viacom Motion in association with Friday Filmworks owned by Neeraj Pandey.
Now before we give our views about the film, here’s a message to Akshay Kumar – “Please act, stop preaching”. And here’s another ode to filmmakers – please stop doing social activism in the name of filmmaking. Your job is to make films to entertain people, so please stick to that. Because, when filmmakers try to “deliver” a social message, they end up being like those half-baked street side activists who cherry-pick facts as per their “agenda” and create a brouhaha.
So, what’s this film all about? Was it about sanitation? Was it about the importance of having toilets in household? Was it about teaching hygiene to women? Or was it a debate on whether Indian traditional customs are hygienic enough? Or, was it just a love story where the villain is “Shauch” or “Soch” and the struggle was more to save the marriage of Kesav (played by Akshay Kumar) with Jaya (played by Bhumi Pednekar) gone awry due to the absence of toilet in Akshay’s home?
Well, the title does say “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” so it must be a love story, right? But where’s the love here? First Kesav stalks Jaya and when confronted, gives her a blast, deletes his number from her phone (apparently stored by him without her consent), deletes her number from his phone (his phone, so his choice) and after this lecture, Jaya stalks Kesav and after this mutual stalking, their romance starts which culminates in their marriage. And was it a proper marriage? No, because Kesav is a mangalic who must first get married to a buffalo and then to a girl with 2 thumbs (a female Hrithik, notwithstanding the uncanny references to Hrithik Roshan every now and then). But since Kesav and Jaya have fallen for each other but because Kesav’s father, played by Sudhir Pandey won’t agree for an alliance with a girl who does not have 2 thumbs, a woolen thumb is knit for her and a selfie of the extra thumb convinces the old man. And then they live happily ever after? No, after that Jaya finds out there’s no toilet in the entire village and all the women there, go out in the open for defecation. And begins the revolt!
That’s where the biggest anomaly in the script occurs. Apparently, when they are flirting, sorry mutually stalking each other, they seem to meet multiple times in a day, so their places aren’t far enough and Jaya, who’s the district topper in computer science is unaware of a village close by to the place lacking basic sanitation facilities and gets married to Kesav without even going to his house for once, but otherwise she’s very modern, empowered and everything?
So, did the filmmakers just decide to make a film on the open defecation problem and simply introduced the problem after marriage? Well, it did look like that. That’s where you sulk for a better direction. And while we are at it, the scene where Kesav fights with everyone to change their mentality about open defecation, in the entire scene only he is seen giving the monologue and there’s no reaction captured from bystanders and suddenly it’s night time, weak screenplay.
Or maybe, this was just another film meant to demean men? If women are not aware of their problems, how are men responsible for it? And for every problem in women’s life the blame must be on men. If the village had open defecation it was an equal problem for both men and women, how did it just become a woman’s problem and that too, married women’s problem? And to solve that, a man must rise, the woman will simply leave her in-laws place and sit at her father’s place and throw tantrums.
If at all, this was a women’s rights movie, why Jaya’s character shown so contradictory that, on one hand, she talks about women’s rights and on the other hand, just becomes a sitting duck when it comes to actually fighting for her rights. And who does the fighting for her? It’s her husband, and the reason is, he loves her and could do anything for her. So, where’s women’s rights here? It’s all about a man’s love, masqueraded as women’s rights, in order to make money because feminism is a fashion these days and filmmakers have devised sure shot formula to rake in the moolah – abuse men, talk about women’s rights (superficially) and bingo, the cash registers are ringing!
And while a movie has been made on open defecation, why not make a movie on the regressive practice of “Lathmar Holi” wherein men are beaten with bamboo sticks by women and its upto the men to save themselves. While the movie does show the regressive practice but justifies the same, saying men deserve it. Is it not hypocritical? Well, it is.
Watch this movie only if you are die hard Akshay Kumar fan, but be ready to be bored at multiple points and yes, there are a lot of attempts to give social messages but surely no attempt to entertain you. Even the comedy scenes are conspicuous only by the background music.
This article has been contributed by our Guest reviewer