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Toilet: Ek Prem Katha | Film Review

There are times when 'experiencing' a film may require watching it twice. I usually prefer watching some films at a multiplex and then, at a single screen (preferably one show with the family. Their reactions are always real and priceless). However, with just a few single screen cinemas remaining, it is not always possible to get tickets, as they sell out faster than a hot & crispy vada pav. But, as luck would have it, I got my tickets well in advance this time. Needless to say, my decision to watch this week's much anticipated release - Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, with the 'super cinephiles' of single screen cinema, was a terrific one. Watching the film amidst constant 'seetis', cheers and applause for Akshay Kumar's strong stand against open defecation, made for quite an experience. Something that a real cinephile at heart will always enjoy. That, apart from the joy of watching of a well made, entertaining film, where even the audience was happy to wait back right till the end of credits (a rare scene in today's times).


Shree Narayan Singh's second directorial venture focuses on an important issue, that of open defecation and the non-availability of toilets in most households. The lead protagonist - Keshav (Kumar) is a middle aged guy, who lives in a village called Mandgaon. Despite repeated attempts (and affairs), Keshav is unable to get married, thanks to a few compulsions set by his orthodox father (Sudhir Pandey - brilliant as always). First, Keshav must tie the knot with a cow to get rid of his dosha, and next, hunt for a girl who has two thumbs (insert regular 'Hrithik Roshan' puns). While on the hunt, he meets and falls in love with a feisty, educated young girl - Jaya (Pednekar). Some initial hurdles (and a few 'jugaads' later), the two get married. However, things go haywire the very next day, as Jaya finds out that her 'sasural' does not have a toilet, and Babuji isn't too keen on building one either. That's where the struggle begins, as Keshav and Jaya fight against all odds (including superstitions) for their right to basic sanitation.

Watching the film amidst constant 'seetis', cheers and applause for Akshay Kumar's strong stand against open defecation, made for quite an experience


TEPK is real, raw and supremely entertaining. While the basic premise is a social issue (and also centres around PM Modi's Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan), there is not a single moment where the film loses out on the entertainment factor. It wonderfully blends the two aspects together, and delivers a strong message, without being too preachy. Though, one may find a few hiccups during the second half, they don't really appear as flaws. The high points, especially performances and superb writing, pretty much covers up for everything else.

While the music is average, it fits in to the narrative pretty well. 'Gori Tu Lath Maar' has been shot beautifully. Surinder Sodhi's background score is decent. Siddharth - Garima's writing is deft, and is certainly one of the biggest highlight of this film. Dialogues are superb, most of which even earn whistles and cheers. It has a great melange of humour, romance and drama, and a sprinkle of culture, thanks to sanskrit shlokas. Singh's direction is slick, and it is impossible to ignore the detailing that has gone behind even the most simple aspects. For e.g: Keshav's street-side fashion dupes that range from Naik (Nike) to Uima (Puma) or the fake Ray-Ban. Each and every detail has been designed or incorporated keeping the surroundings in mind, which is laudable.

Dialogues are superb, most of which even earn whistles and cheers. It has a great melange of humour, romance and drama


The lead pair and ensemble cast are the real heart of this social - drama. Casting is fantastic, with artists like Divyendu, Sudhir Pandey, Anupam Kher among others adding life to their respective characters with a flawless act. Divyendu has an impeccable comic timing, and the audience erupts in laughter, every time he comes on screen. Pandey as the strict and orthodox Babuji is brilliant.

Despite the film being her second outing, Bhumi Pednekar shines with an outstanding act. With the perfect body language, nuances and fabulous dialogue delivery, she breathes life into Jaya. She does not make the character look caricaturish. Jaya is relatable and real. Pednekar 's natural act (and look) is one of the strongest highlights in the film. It is impossible for anyone to believe that the actress is just one film old. There are portions where she outshines all the veterans around her. That's the mark of a talented artist, and with this flawless performance, Pednekar has proved that she is here to stay.

Bhumi Pednekar 's natural act is one of the strongest highlights in the film. It is impossible for anyone to believe that the actress is just one film old


Akshay Kumar is one of the very few actors who has managed to excel in different genres and has shown excellent range in all his films. There is no doubt that the actor is incredibly versatile. Film after film, he has raised the bar and taken things a notch above with his brilliant performance and vision. TEPK is no different. Kumar's portrayal of Keshav creates a strong impact. He starts off as a regular, confused local guy (with some serious stalking skills), but as the film progresses, the character grows into someone on a mission. Keshav's boy to man journey has been flawlessly essayed by Kumar. His chemistry with Pednekar's Jaya is fabulous, which is another strong highlight of the film.

Akshay Kumar is one of the very few actors who has managed to excel in different genres and has shown excellent range in all his films

Singh's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is an important film of our times. It explores a love story, against the backdrop of several dark issues that the people of our country continue to suffer from. While focusing on open defecation as the larger picture, the film also touches upon other key issues, including superstition, societal pressure and narrow mindedness of the society. During Jaya's struggle against open defecation, she comes across women who pooh-pooh her decisions. Some even go on to question her education and state that women should not be given to much 'freedom'. It is commendable that Singh has highlighted the various evils that continue to poison our society, in a film that provides wholesome entertainment. It is difficult to find this perfect combination in a good film. Fortunately, TEPK has passed this litmus test with flying colours.

Verdict: A must watch for one and all! Highly recommended for it's flawless performances, excellent writing and the strong message, that creates an impact. Radhe Radhe!!


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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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