Good: acting performances , cinematography , decent screenplay , knowledge giving
Weakness : below par editing , quite more unnecessary songs
"Impressive satire that gets constipated towards the end!!!"
As we step foot into the 71st year of Independence, we are at the cusp of becoming the next global economic powerhouse. But we fail to reach our potential as there are many areas where we are still stuck in the medieval period. At times, it is due to the Governments in power while at most instances it's due to the lackadaisical attitude of the population . One such problem that has plagued the country is lack of hygienic toilet practices & this issue is presented as a satire in "Toilet-Ek Prem Katha". The trailer was interesting & with Akki in the lead, there are high hopes about the project. So will it quell the dry spell at the box office after all Bollywood hardly had any big hits this year???
Keshav (Akshay Kumar) is the 36 year old son of a hard liner Brahmin, Panditji (Sudhir Pandey) who was the proprietor of a cycle shop. So dogmatic was his father, that Keshav was forced to marry a buffalo to ward off the 'maanglik' effect that was believed to have delayed his marriage. To add to his woes, his father was adamant that he should be married to a female who had polydactyly to ensure that he had a peaceful life. Around this time, he meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) a state topper & with time, they enter into a relationship. He comes up with an ingenious idea to fool his father into believing that Jaya had an extra finger which paves the way for their marriage. But this was hardly a problem, until Jaya realizes that Keshav's house doesn't have a toilet & she would have to go with the 'lota party" in the wee hours to empty her bowels. She was livid about it & Keshav had to come up with an idea to resolve the problem lest she walks out on him.
It's not surprising that Shree Narayanan Singh is a relatively unknown name after all he only has a forgetful "Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai" to his credit as a director. However, with his latest venture he will be heard with more regularity as he has done a fine job with the execution of the satire for large portions of the movies though it falters towards the end. Inspired from real life characters such as Anita Narre & Priyanka Bharti (you would have see her in the Vidya Balan UNICEF Total Sanitation ad); it has been scripted by Siddharth Singh & Garima Wahal. The predicament that Akshay finds himself in & the 'jugaad' that he comes up with evokes laughs. The manner in which the movie tackles the core issue is hilarious & thought provoking, but the hurried climax seemed rather unconvincing & kinda misses the mark as it stretched a tad too long. Despite his praise worthy credentials as a editor in movies like "A Wednesday", "Baby" , "M. S Dhoni" etc.; he has come up short here as it ought to have been trimmed much more efficiently. Anshuman Mahaley has done a commendable job in maintaining the rustic feel while the music which was done by a host of artists were satisfactory.
Over the past couple of years, Akshay's choice of movies has been nothing short of brilliant whether it hits the mark or not. His conscious effort to dabble with various genres be it comedy, social issues, action etc., makes him the actor that I most look forward to (apart from Aamir). He was fantastic as Keshav especially in the marriage scenes where he does goofy stuff that made me almost fall off the seat laughing. Equally impressive was Bhumi who portrayed the fiesty spirit & romantic avatar with ease. It's hard to say who hasnt aced their part as each & every artist has done utmost justice to their roles be it Sudhir Pandey, Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma etc.
Verdict: The box collections at the end of the opening weekend stands at an impressive 51 C, which gives ample proof that if the content is good then the audience will lap it up. Even as our nation talks about going digital, the stats shows us that close to 45% of our population still dont use toilets even when the authorities offer to build it. From time to time, we have had movies with strong messages; but I sincerely hope that this one will atleast make people make a conscious effort to deter from open defecation. In short, dont miss this hilarious satire!!!
Anatomy of a Sordid Underbelly
India has a million faces, tis the landscape of a collage of myriad colours and juxtaposition. A nation borne on the pillars of ancient scriptures propagating healthy living and the idea of sattvic food and shuddhi, is perhaps most harrowingly filthy in its ways. And yes, the modern grandeur of our great nation stands tall over a mammoth pile of garbage on the roads, filth in every nook and corner and a populace obsessed with attending to nature's call out in the open. Swaccha Bharat isn't a dream to fulfill, it is an over neglected constitutional duty for which the billion citizens and the administrative machinery are accountable. Toilet ek Prem Katha is perhaps a first-of-its-kind movie anywhere in the world. It scoffs at the putrid mentality of ours.
There are movies and there is Toilet ek Prem katha. Albiet, I must say, sitting through the two and a half hours of its running the feeling of a Doordarshan documentary crept in. So we witness this story, where Akshay kumar's character of a bachelor in his late thirties is struggling with the authoritarian dictates of a staunch Brahmin father ( in-form Sudhir Mishra ), who wouldn't let his son get married due to certiain doshas in the horoscope. However the wily son outsmarts the father cum pandit, when he falls in love with a pretty girl with a topper's degree ( excellent Bhumi Pednekar ).The educated bride is welcomed with a raucous marriage band and tons of flowers, the first night of bliss is pitch perfect for the couple. Almost the entire first half is spent on the premise building. Then the turmoil begins on the ''morn after''. The new bride is called out in the wee hours by the village ladies for a ''ritual''. The bride learns to her utter shock about lota party and then all hell breaks loose.
Confronted and cornered by his much civilsed wife for not having a civic sense and openly defecating, our hero at first sees no point in creating brouhaha. He even chides her for being non adjusting and unjust. However, gradually he sees what she knows since childhood and begins to help her overcome the morning problem by his jugaadu ways. Predictably, the pandit cum father upon hearing the mere utterance of constructing a toilet in the home compound unleashes a volley of gyaan about sanskaar and parampara. The twist comes by way of an unfortunate mishap which culminates to the final resolve and the ''action'' part of the movie. The writing team of Garima Sidhharth are to be saluted for their brave effort. Lucid in their pacing but perhaps a tad too superfluous for the sake of entertainment quotient. While attacking the hygiene and sanitation issues, the writers bounce against the hyprocritical belief systems, patriarchal viewpoints and age old myths prevalant in our society.To break the mould so essential for the final statement, they use the female voice from two polarised universes. One that has accepted all that the society has heaved upon them and the other that knows what is right and what is wrong. The shrill overtone of reason is not to be missed in some key moments of the film. Ultimately in a showdown of sorts it all boils down to system vs people. The couple so madly in love with each other are uncannily shown to know the right thing to do even at the cost of their marriage. Of course the ending is a sweet smell of sucess.
The director Shree Narayan Singh ( Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai ) having edited the movie himself seems to have sparingly snipped his own movie as the lenght is approximately half an hour longer than was nessesary. While the music is repeat worthy with a couple of sure fire chart-toppers, at least one song could have been done way with. The camera captures the village locales beautifully, but hovers from the top like a helicoter, scene after scene. Apart from the ''shame on you'' concept which barges into the potty zone with a 70 mm camera and eardrum scalding lines like '' khulla pichwara koi dekh bhi le toh muh ghunghat se dhak lena'',the movie barges ahead on the stellar performances. Each of the actors hold forte as if they realise this is a moment of truth in Indian cinema. Special mention for Divyendu 'Naru' Sharma for genuinely tickling the funny bone as Akhay's closest comrade. Khiladi kumar has proven yet again that he is a King in his own right. He effortlessly holds our complete attention while being the quitessential lover boy, playing an obedient son, rendering a heartwrenching monologue and ultimately to reveal a new found identity of a rebel with a cause. He turns on his superstar charm at will and we are enthralled by his genuine performance. This movie has another superstar in Bhumi. In the role of Jaya, she makes the topic of Toilets For All her own. She uses her sweet smile effectively and then turns it 360 degrees around to spit venom at a blindfolded society which revels in its apathy towards women. Her rustic, classy act is worth its value in gold.
Move over serenading in mustard fields and princes from the ivory towers, here a splash of hard hitting reality which won't be forgotten in a long time. This toilet will be remembered for permanently flushing out some taboo.