Mumbai, 11 Aug 2017 15:13 IST
The film, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, succeeds in putting forth a timely message despite its share of minuses.
Let’s face it. This year has been terrible for mainstream Hindi cinema so far. Barring one or two examples, films with big stars have failed to achieve success, both in terms of appreciation and box office numbers. But now, debutant Shree Narayan Singh’s Toilet: Ek Prem Katha stands a chance of ending the dry run. The film, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, succeeds in putting forth a timely message in an entertaining way, despite its share of minuses.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha tells the story of 36-year-old Keshav who lives with his naughty younger brother Naru (Divyendu Sharma) and a superstitious father (Sudhir Pandey) in the village Mandpur in Mathura. Keshav's mother passed on when he was a child. The family runs a bicycle business. Keshav is unmarried, as according to father, he has some faults in his horoscope. To improve his condition, he marries a buffalo as part of a ritual.
Keshav’s situation becomes better, or at least he feels so, when he comes across the young, girl-next-door Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) and falls head over heels for her. Jaya is not impressed initially with his ways, especially considering his age. But she slowly gets convinced about his genuine feelings and agrees to marry him. After the two families agree, Keshav and Jaya’s wedding takes place with much aplomb. Life finally gets on track for Keshav, but only till his wife realises that her marital home doesn’t have a toilet.
It has become a regular practice to show a lot about the film in the trailer. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is guilty of this too. Thankfully, the smooth screenplay and regular doses of humour make the predictability entertaining. But the presentation takes you by surprise with the event of Jaya leaving Keshav. It is done purely through visuals without any melodrama or even spoken words.
The bigger challenge for the film was to present the sorry tale of women with respect to absence of toilets and offer a solution. The first part is achieved successfully by putting forth the issue without making it look or sound yucky. The solution bit treads on the filmi and preachy path though. But as the message is positive, you can forgive it.
Toilet has two other issues. It is difficult to believe that a girl or her family would agree to a marriage without visiting the groom’s home and knowing about the lack of a toilet. Although the story is inspired from a real-life incident, this point should have at least been established. At 161 minutes, Toilet is excruciatingly long.
This is not a music-oriented film. But Sonu Nigam has shown his class in ‘Has Mat Pagli’ and ‘Gori Tu Lath Maar.’ Anshuman Mahaley provides some decent camerawork. The shot where Pednekar storms inside the premises of her apartment is quite artistic.
Toilet is primarily an Akshay Kumar film. The actor, who is going through dream run, is in fine form again. Whether it is doing comedy with his brother or getting emotional, he manages his task well. Pednekar plays a simple yet rebellious girl with confidence. She continues her good work since her debut in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015).
While playing second fiddle to Akshay Kumar, Divyendu Sharma is quite entertaining. It is good to see this talented actor getting a big opportunity. Sudhir Pandey makes the character of a regressive and patriarchal father completely believable. Anupam Kher is once again reliable.
Overall, despite some issues, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is worth watching for its timely message. The film would have achieved this even without the misplaced and forced praise for demonetization.