Toilet Ek Prem Katha
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
Keshav (Akshay Kumar), the son of a Manusmriti-following brahmin, is waiting to get married for years. Now in his 36th year, he is made to marry a buffalo to neutralise his ‘maanglik’ stars in the opening sequence and you laugh at his pathetic condition. You know how unique can Akshay Kumar be in such scenes. His toothy smile and ‘battameez bol lo madam lekin bhaisaab mat bolo’ kind of dialogues set the mood.
He isn’t your stereotypical village boy who would be a celibate before marriage. Stalking a girl is a way of fetching her attention for Keshav. The proprietor of a cycle store, his general knowledge and understanding of the society and religious texts are also satisfactory. Director Shree Narayan Singh moulds Akshay Kumar into a combination of Jolly LLB 2 and Khiladi 786. In short, Akshay is in comfort zone.
His marriage with Jaya Joshi (Bhumi Pednekar), a state topper and ‘angrezi padhi likhi ladki’, meets a roadblock when Jaya discovers his house doesn’t have a toilet.
She refuses to be the leader of the ‘lota party’ and forces Keshav to go for desperate measures. Obviously they won’t last long and the couple is back to square one. But will the elusive toilet be made in Keshav’s house?
First thing first. Toilet - Ek Prem Katha endorses the Indian government’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan so seriously that after a point it starts to look like that Priyanka Bharti ad featuring Vidya Balan.
Slow in the second half, and the prime among them is the theory of ‘fighting with sabhayata (with civility)’ that the director introduces. It widens the canvas and shifts focus to many parties, including the government. Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar keeps repeating how we should not expect the government to do everything for us.
Apart from this confusion, it’s a story that delivers a really important message about personal hygiene and proper sanitation system in rural areas. It’s just that we hear the messages clearly in the first 50 minutes.
Kumar and Pednekar have a chemistry that’s visible in songs, even in the weirdly worded ‘Has mat pagli pyaar ho jayega’. Kumar, of course, is the backbone of Toilet Ek Prem Katha, but Pednekar is no less a contributor to this story.
Toilet Ek Prem Katha is just short of becoming another Akshay Kumar masterclass in comedy, but it has enough to entertain you.