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Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra builds toilets as he shoots Mere Pyare Prime Minister in Mumbai slums

The Bhaag Milkha Bhaag director has received a NOC from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make 20 toilets in the Khandooba area of Mumbai.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra on the sets of Mere Pyare Prime Minister

Sonal Pandya

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s latest film, Mere Pyare Prime Minister, is centered around four young children living in the slums of Mumbai who are fast friends. The production began in May after a one-month recce.

The film’s lead character, an eight-year-old named Kanhaiya (aka Kanu) wants to build a toilet for his single mother Sargam, played by Anjali Patil. He reaches out to the Prime Minister to get the toilet built.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given the filmmaker a NOC to build 20 toilets (five each for men and women) and get teachers for two municipal school in Khandooba. A community toilet, which is used by 1,000 families is also scheduled to be rebuilt.

Mehra was inspired to give back to the community and champion this cause after seeing the toilets at the Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram and has built over 800 toilets by collaborating with Yuva Unstoppable NGO in the past four years.

He told the daily Mumbai Mirror, “We don’t just build toilets and walk away but we also make sure the locals maintain them. We’ve been having meetings with slum dwellers and corporators of the area, urging them to put one rupee in the donation box so that the community workers can be given their dues. The new toilets are as good as the ones in private buildings, with proper pipelines and extensions with taps where they can get clean, drinking water.”

After the Tamil film Joker (2016) and Akshay Kumar’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017), Mehra’s Mere Pyare Prime Minister will be latest in the line of films that have taken on the social cause of building toilets and creating awareness on more hygienic practices.