Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar
Shree Narayan Singh
Everyone had been waiting with baited breath for TOILET: EK PREM KATHA, simply because the dry spell in Bollywood needs to be reversed. Akshay Kumar and his commercial credentials, along with his newfound socially aware state of being, has been hugely talked about but does it translate?
The film is pitch perfect when it comes to depicting the interiors of India (full marks to cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley), with a little prelude (and simple minded comedy) starts the sweet love affair between Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) Keshav comes from a Bhramin Household, so it is a triumph of sorts when he manages to get married to Jaya, the girl of his dreams.
It is not mean fete for Jaya too. The whole wedding is an expensive affair but it is a dream come true to have found a husband in Keshav who loves her as much as she loves him. Twist in the tale is the slight oversight by Keshav who never deemed it necessary to inform Jaya that she needs to go to the fields to answer nature’s calls because there isn’t a toilet in their home. Aghast at the fact that her beloved husband doesn’t have a toilet, humiliated for having to go outdoors to defecate, Jaya packs her bags and decides to file for a divorce. Leaving a man you love, for your basic needs is something no one ever heard of but the way Keshav and Jaya are united and yet divided in the need for sanitation is hilarious and yet, thought-provoking.
The film touches upon many aspects which have led to lack of sanitation in the interiors of india, right from superstitions to political influences to illiteracy… while the director, Shree Narayan Singh, manages to ensure the film doesn’t have that documentary-feel to it, he doesn’t really manage to keep the humour on for long. There are moments when the film gets tedious due to the tug of war between the editor and director and it is evident Shree has let the director win. In the bargain the editor has tried to club all the small moments they have conjured up through a rather simple narrative. Singularly, detached moments that fill the film are nice but there is too many that get repetitive. We understand there is the need to drill the concept and the need of the film right into the minds of the people, but it is a rather small script to go on for two hours and 15mins. A crisper, funnier way would have been the way to go with the humour (the jokes are not original, and not as heartland centric as it should have been). The humour is always an issue when we have urbanites dealing with issues they empathise with but not particularly live through. Moral of TOILET: EK PREM KATHA is, of course, the right to sanitization but also, that if an editor turns director, bring in a neutral person to edit the film who can perceive the film objectively.
Akshay Kumar is in a win-win situation with the film, while the film is bound to go tax free, the producer Kumar would certainly make his due. The actor too would come out sated because Keshav goes from looking slightly goofy to a complete hero in the course of the film. Akshay has mastered the act of playing the village sweetheart and enjoys saying the dialogues which are meant to be matter-of-fact in their tonality but hilarious. Bhumi, on the other hand, has a film that makes her look pretty, as opposed to her first film but it sure doesn’t do much more for her.
All and all, this TOILET doesn’t stink, but the PREM KATHA doesn’t touch the heart either nor tickle you!