Movie: Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Anupam Kher, Sana Khan, Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
Music Director: Surinder Sodhi
Producers: Plan C Studios, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
In Bollywood, there are hardly a few who can truly harness the power of cinema as a medium which can be used to address a social evil via the means of engaging and entertaining storytelling. Akshay Kumar is one such phenomenon who understands that well, and his recently released film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is yet another example of that.
As the title suggests, the film is the love story of Keshav (Kumar) and Jaya (Bhumi) where the former is a Manglik boy and gets married to the latter who is a school topper after being married to a buffalo which is believed to get Keshav’s stars in place. Perhaps the only way one would be able to pull off an engaging love story is when the chemistry between the on-screen couple is rock solid, and Keshav and Jaya have got it just right.
Akshay Kumar, who looks as age proof as it could be, pulls off the part of a 36-year-old like it’s his second skin and Bhumi Pednekar comes across as a feisty wife which was such a refreshing thing to see. It might feel a bit odd that a 36-Year-Old is falling for someone in their twenties in this day and age, but hey! That’s how things still are in Rural India and trust Akki to do complete justice to his work with impeccable comic timing. However, what made us give ourselves a hard facepalm was the stalker behavior on part of Akshay and then when Bhumi falls in love, she begins to stalk him (Was that even necessary?) The obnoxious stalker behavior has been addressed well, but a little less emphasis wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
The film also talks about the religious logic behind not having a bathroom in a house, something that the urban households take for granted. Fast forward to the point where Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar are a married couple now, where it never occurs to Kumar to tell Bhumi about the lack of a bathroom in their house, which leads to the Bhumi initiating a divorce upon learning that open defecation is the only way that things are going to be.
When things turn upside down for Kumar’s Keshav, he brings on a revolt which is smartly written and executed and even a little bit preachy in the second half, but we have no complaints as we understand that the love story is also meant to deal with a very prevalent social evil. In short, you can sit through it all, and you’d even want to. All in all, the movie addresses topics like superstition, blind faith and religion brilliantly.
The dialogues are a class apart. Very few satires manage to hit where it hurts via the what’s being said by the cast. The whole set up of the satirical love story comes off as strikingly realistic thanks to the dexterous representation of the rural India. The director, dialogue writer, and screen writer couldn’t be credited enough. However, the ending comes across as a bit too conventional and unreal, that is something which could have been done away with. A few moments here and there have given way to a lot of unnecessary melodrama. Well, if only that could have been done away with, the movie could have been crisper.
Overall, this movie is a must watch and as of this writing, I am booking the tickets to watch this film one more time. Kumar and team, you deserve a standing ovation!