Ek Prem Katha

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha Movie Review By DIVYA SOLGAMA

Expectations:

There was a time when our Hindi cinema started churning out socially relevant subjects related to the caste system, gender discrimination, dowry system, unemployment, farmer issues, widow remarriage, family planning and many more. Films like ‘Do Bigha Zameen’, ‘Achhut Kannya’, ‘Prem Rog’, ‘Ankur’, ‘Tarpan’, ‘Arjun’, ‘Hari Bhari’ and many such films have managed to hit the right chord with its targeted audience. Most of these films had socially relevant issues related to small towns or villages, but there were few which catered the urban audience as well as for the entire country. India has always been divided into urban and rural India, where entire sensibilities and problems are totally contrasting. Thus, it’s tough for our film makers to make a universally appealing socially relevant film. Either they opted out for a serious arty format or a satire and in case of some, sugar coated in entertainment formant. Akshay Kumar’s latest film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ caters the socially relevant problem related to open defecation and promotes government campaign to improve the sanitation conditions in rural areas. Thus, let’s find out whether ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ will manage to appeal the universal audience or might end up being a preachy message oriented docudrama type of film.

Story:

‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ is a story of a middle age guy Keshav (Akshay Kumar), whose marriage is stuck due to some religious beliefs and odd conditions of his father Panditji (Sudhir Pandey). One day, Keshav meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) and falls in love with her. Keshav along with his brother Naru (Divyendu Sharma) manipulates Panditji’s conditions leading to his marriage with Jaya. Sadly, on the next day of their marriage Jaya comes to know that there are no toilet facilities in Keshav’s house and will have to go with all other females of the village and defecate in open fields. This leads to a conflict between Keshav and Jaya leading to a national issue and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.
Screenplay & Technical Details:

The basic story idea is interesting and some similarities with a film known as ‘Gutrun Gutargun’, which manage to create wonders in many film festivals. In case of ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, the story has been presented in a light and breezy manner. The first half starts with a dull love story between Akshay Kumar and Bhumi followed by some educational messages indulged in it. The romance part lacks the intensity and also keeps getting diluted by Divyendu’s stale jokes related to buffalo. The movie gets it right momentum and picks up after Akshay’s marriage with Bhumi. Every scene right since the marriage part till the interval is engaging as well as entertaining. Bhumi’s first day in Akshay’s village followed by Akshay trying to convince Sudhir Pandey, Bhumi trying to adjust to the situations, Akshay trying all means to solve Bhumi’s problem followed by the entire train track leading to the interval point. These scenes are one of the best scenes from the film. Post interval the movie tries to keep its momentum intact with scenes such as Akshay’s tiff with Sudhir Pandey, Bhumi’s outburst over periods, cremation and toilet issues, Akshay opposing the village panchayat leading to his outburst over the villagers, Akshay’s break down scene and a few more. Sadly, the intensity in these scenes gets highly diluted due to repetitive scenes, preachy dialogues, over usage of the word ‘Sauch’, portraying the clean image of government and sudden culmination of the whole issue. The random praising of government policies does not gel with the flow of the film. The last thirty minutes are highly stretched which eventually leads to a jumbled and unconvincing climax. The sudden rebel and change of heart looked fake. Not to forget the hammering messages related to sanitation issues. The cinematography is decent and keeps the mood intact. The editing could have been bit strict in the second half of the film.
Music:

Speaking about the music of the film, ‘Has Mat Pagli’ is a sweet romantic song which displays the magic of Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. ‘Subha Ki Train’ sounds interesting. ‘Bakheda’, ‘Toilet’ and ‘Gori Tu Latth Maar’ could have been better.
Direction:

Director Shree Narayan Singh is known for his work as an editor for many good films like ‘Special 26’, ‘Baby’, ‘A Wednesday’, ‘Taryanche Bait’ and others. He comes up with a unique concept and presents it into an entertaining manner. It’s just that he also tries to induce all those social messages which ends up on a verbose note. This movie should have been shorter, crispier and direct to the point. All those melodrama and fake rebelling in the climax dilutes the intensity of the film.
Performances:

Akshay Kumar displays a decent performance. He is fantastic in a scene where he breaks down in front of his father. Wish there were many more such scenes to tap the right potential of this versatile superstar. Bhumi Pednekar is amazing in this movie. Her voice and dialogue delivery will remind you of young Shabana Azmi. There are some scenes where she surpasses everyone around her including the Khiladi Kumar. Divyendu Sharma keeps the fun quotient intact, but after a while starts to irritate with his fake accent and repetitive jokes. Sudhir Pandey is superb in his part and gives strong opposition to the lead characters. Anupam Kher, Rajesh Sharma, Shobha Khote and others are wasted. Sana Khan’s cameo scene has been terribly shot.
Final Verdict:

So on an overall basis ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ comes up with a constipated, but highly important topic related to open defecation but, opts out for an Isobgol type of smooth solution. The movie could have been a great film, but ends up on an average note along with over promotion of government policies.

Rating – 3/5 [Source – Bollywood Times]