Verdict: A perfect example of how to spread a social message with entertainment.
Airlift, Rustom, Jolly LLB 2, and now Toilet – Ek Prem Katha (TEPK) – Akshay Kumar’s recent filmography indicates how the actor has gone from mindless entertainers to substantial, script-backed movies. In his latest release, Kumar plays the role of Keshav, a typical gaonwala who thinks he’s modern but still expects his wife to defecate in the open. Keshav’s better half though is a stark contrast. Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar) demands a toilet in their village and encourages other women to follow the suit. Changing the mindset of the people overnight is a herculean task and Keshav tries a lot of jugaad, which includes him robbing a portable toilet from a film set. Eventually, he realizes that he needs to educate the villagers rather than only focusing on getting his spouse back home. The rest of the movie showcases how the Swachh Bharat campaign is benefiting people in rural India.
A film on a subject like this could be boring and preachy but kudos to the director Shree Narayan Singh for using a love story to make his point. In fact, the first half focuses on how the lead couple falls in love before the issue of sanitation crops up. Set in the heartland, the movie brings to life certain customs (Lath mar Holi) that many of us may be unaware of.
Bhumi Pednekar made her debut nearly 18 months ago but this film is certainly worth the wait. It takes guts to play a character like Jaya and Pednekar makes you root for her. She comes across as a natural performer and a bigger star may have been a misfit. The star of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is Akshay Kumar. Even if his National Award win for Rustom may have come under the scanner, it would be a shame if his performance in TEPK goes unnoticed. It is his earnest portrayal of Keshav that keeps you interested even when you feel the film should end now. The runtime of nearly 2 hours 40 minutes is the only thing to fault in the movie and that could be solved by getting rid of a few songs. TEPK also benefits with a wonderful supporting cast – Anupam Kher, Divyendu Sharma, Sudhir Pandey, and Shubha Khote. The bonding between Sharma (Keshav's brother) and Akki will bring a smile to your face.
Why You Should Watch The Movie:
Toilet – Ek Prem Katha is easily one of the best Hindi films of 2017 so far. It spreads a strong message an is also entertaining. AK, Bhumi, and the whole cast has put up a spirited show and there's no reason why you shouldn't catch it in the cinemas, especially when a long weekend awaits you. Book now, you won't regret it.