Shahid Kapoor, Divendu Sharma, Shraddha Kapoor, Yami Gautam
Shree Narayan Singh
Toilet Ek Prem Katha worked wonders at the box office, so it was obvious that director Shree Narayan Singh would come up with a film as relevant in our society today, as was Toilet… Batti Gul Meter Chalu, like Toilet, makes us urban lot feel like scum for taking things for granted.
The film starts with Sushil Kumar Pant aka SK (Shahid) in an archery contest. (No, this is not a period film). Basically what happens in this tiny village tucked in India's Uttarakhand is that, the one who wins the contest gets a generator, ensuring electricity for a whole month. A noble conquest given electricity is a novelty in this village, EVEN TODAY.
Soon we come to know a little more about SK. He is a no-gooder advocate, who ensures his family and friends are always in splits. His closest pals are Sunder Mohan Tripathi (Divendu Sharma) and Lalita Nautiyal aka Nauti (Shraddha Kapoor). While Nauti is looking to get married, so is… hold your breath, Shahid’s dad. In this dysfunctional kind of state of mind, Shahid starts trying to woo his buddy, Nauti. Now, as much as SK is fun, Tripathi is reliable and sweet. When it comes to choosing between her friends, Nauti opts for Sunder. It obviously ticks Sushil off, and he starts keeping a distance.
Life for Sunder isn’t all peachy, especially since he is trying his best to start up something for himself and the electricity is just not available. Despite not having any current in his factory, the electrical company runs up a fraudulent bill of 56 lacs. With no way to pay up, Sunder commits suicide.
It is the guilt of not being there by his friend’s side and more, that gets Sushil motivated to do something about the situation rather than just sit down and mourn his friend’s loss. He sues the electric company that sent his friend the bill. What ensues is a court drama, where walks in Yami Gautam.
For the narration of the film, Shree Narayanji has got two characters calling them Vikas and Kalyan who are metaphorically speaking about progress and goodwill. The film is edited by the director himself - perhaps that’s the reason it is an hour too long.
The director takes too long to establish the friendship and move on with the story, the humour moments are sometimes forced and the dialect they are speaking in, is actually difficult to decipher. Why did he have to make it so, the answer is one word - authenticity. But frankly, today everyone, especially those who are educated, find themselves speaking in clear Hindi, mostly. Also, so outfits and the language don’t really mesh together.
As for the actors, of course Shahid Kapoor has excelled in his part as a lawyer. His demeanour, the way it changes when circumstances around him change is, beautifully depicted. His close friend, Divendu, in the movie is also good. However, despite having Shraddha Kapoor as girlfriend, there is forlorn look in Divendu’s face way too often in the film. And if there ever was an award for a kiss with zero chemistry, perhaps it might go to Shraddha and Divendu!
Shraddha on the whole is good in the film, and shines in comparison to Yami, who is extremely stiff in her role as the lawyer. The music in the film is abysmal, and dialogues redundant. Yet, the fact that the script of the film is about something that speaks to us city dwellers, makes the film stay with you after you leave the theatre. Shree Narayan wins this one only on principle.