'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha': Movie Review


By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews


Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, marriage scene

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is the much-awaited satirical comedy film about the age old tradition of open defecation in India. Directed by Shree Narayan Singh, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha stars Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead roles. The film costars Anupam Kher, Sudhir Pandey, Divyendu Sharma, Atul Srivastava, and Ayesha Raza. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is co-written by Siddharth Singh and Garima Wahal. The film has been making headlines ever since its trailer was released. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha has even been commended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who himself is the mastermind behind the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that envisages to improve the sanitation conditions across the country. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was recently sued by a Jaipur-based filmmaker named Pratik Sharma for allegedly lifting the punchline and the subject from his film Gutrun Gutar Gun. However, the plea was later rejected.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a love story with a difference. It is unique in that it is set in the backdrop of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aka Clean India Mission. We have a 36-year-old protagonist named Keshav whose superstitious father has been repeatedly dashing his hopes of getting married on Astrological grounds. So with each passing day he grows more desperate. When he finally finds the girl of his dreams he somehow succeeds in convincing his skeptical father. So they get married. But there is a twist in the tale. She gets the shock of her life on realizing that the house of his in laws has no toilet. Like every other women in the village she must wake up very early in the morning and defecate out in the open. Now, she is a modern educated girl and it is just not acceptable to her. So she threatens to leave. The husband tries his best to make some temporary arrangements but when all his efforts fail he launches a campaign to get a sewer line in place. What ensues is a typical battle between the corrupt administration and the common man determined to fight for his rights.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

Although, the film has a humorous tone it has a rather serious issue at its core. We often end up taking sanitation for granted, especially those of us living in urban areas. Open defecation remains a major concern in rural areas. Over 500 million people in India defecate in the open; in other words, they go out in bushes, fields, forests, or other open spaces rather than using the toilet to defecate. It leads to both rape and disease and also makes people vulnerable to other physical dangers such as snake bites. According to a report, over two hundred thousand children die every year from diseases caused by fecal contamination, such as diarrhea, in India. It is therefore important to spread awareness about the issue and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha seems to serve the purpose well.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Bike Scene

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is easily the most entertaining Public Service Announcement (PSA) that I have watched. It is so loud and in your face that it leaves little to imagination. And that isn't really a bad thing if you are targeting Tier - II and Tier - III cities along with the whole of rural India. The movie's dialogues are replete with below-the-belt humor and double meaning jokes. Interestingly, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha not only has the quintessential elements of a PSA but it also comes across as a propaganda film that doesn't appear to leave any stone unturned in applauding the policies of the Narendra Modi government, including demonetization. Perhaps, movies like these are here to stay. Not only because our society requires them but also because our politicians need them. The only regret is that we shouldn't be asked to pay to watch such films. After all, no one ever expected us pay to watch a good old PSA!

Rating: 5.5/10

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!



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2 comments:

  1. Review on expected lines...
    Nonsensical crap like Mubarakan is rated as 7 and genuinely funny movie with a social message is rated 5.5...
    Lipstick under my burkha which was critically acclaimed by most reviewers and public alike was rated 5 by you while universally panned movie like Jab Harry met Sejal was rated as 7 by you...
    I wonder if there is an inherent bias, which is withholding you from critiquing movies impartially. If that is case, you should seriously quit this movie review business as no one is going to take you seriously if your reviews are so disconnected from popular perception.

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    Replies
    1. Ratings are not relative... I rate movies individually... yes, there are certain benchmarks... most important thing is the maker's intention and how well he/she executes it... novelty, cinematic flair, etc. are also important. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is so loud that it feels like watching a TV Serial. Not to mention the propaganda that drives it. JHMS is no high art but it has the sophistication that most Indian rom-coms lack. If you can't see and understand these things then I can't really help you!

      P.S. As long as as I have ardent readers like yourself who remember each and every rating of mine by heart I need not worry about my career as a film critic.

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