Scatalogical humour is not new to Bollywood, but a film with toilet in the main lead definitely is. Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, therefore, deserves full marks for good intentions. Doffing its hat to the government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, with special focus on our Prime Minister on building toilets, it attempts to weave in an entertaining love story with a pulsating social conscious.
Welcome to Mandgaon, a small village near Mathura that becomes the epicentre of a fight for a sauchalay. The marriage has three principal participants – Pati (Akshay Kumar), patni (Bhumi Pednekar) and woh aka ‘toilet’ .
After the quick love at first sight, a bit of stalking (coz such is Bollywood) and a jhat pat vyaah, when the dear wife realises she has to go to the nearby khet at the crack of dawn to answer nature's call, she gives her husband an ultimatum – soch nahi to biwi nahi. The husband being Kumar keeps his side of the promise and how!
Much of the film works, thanks to Kumar and Padneker's charm. They have a natural chemistry which lifts the movie.
Also the ensemble cast of Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma, Sudhir Pandey, Rajesh Sharma and Ayesha Raza Mishra is spot on. But sadly, there is no denying the fact that the second half plays out like a government-funded jan hit mein jaari ad that has overstayed its welcome.
The sanitised view on defecation somehow blunts the over all effect. We hear a lot of talk about aurton ki izzat, lajja and sharam and even an elaborate scene of Keshav’s (Akshay Kumar’s) dad relieving himself in the open. But somehow it is all presented as only a “ladies problem”. Is Kumar too much of a hero to be shown peeing in public?
Good intentions alone can't guarantee a good cinematic experience. With the writing losing all its nuance and the predictable climax stretched unnecessarily, most parts of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha actually warrant a loo break! Just an average affair, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha becomes a curious case of Akshay Kumar never using the loo himself!
I give it 2.5 quints out of 5.
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