Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

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Toilet: Ek Prem Katha
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

TOILET: EK PREM KATHA is well-meant, reasonably entertaining, but not compelling enough!

Using his stardom to crusade for a good cause, Akshay Kumar surely takes a step in the right direction with this film. However, let-down by a very simple, surface-level screenplay, TOILET: EK PREM KATHA fails to urge you appropriately. Nevertheless, it has its share of humour and thoughtful intent to keep you engaged for all of its 155 minutes. Worth a watch this weekend!

TOILET - EK PREM KATHA traces the love story between 'jugadbaaz' Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and progressive girl Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), set in two villages near Mathura. It is a satirical take on a battle against the age-old tradition of open defecation in the country. From the panchayat to the sanitation department, from the role of the government to the superstitions of the villagers, from scams to the ethos, from first love to a matured romance, TOILET - EK PREM KATHA is Keshav's journey where a common man stands up for a cause, seeking change in the mindsets.

In a film such as this, you expect a meaty case to be made for the cause it advocates, in order to effect a change in the people at large. Alas, the film never gives you compelling grounds which can really open eyes. In fact, there are times when its justification seems to be losing against the arguments presented by the totally senseless traditionalists. The fault is entirely of the writing team – even if you overlook the flaws, a much more purpose driven script was the need of the hour. Director Shree Narayan Singh, relies solely on his lead actor to carry the show on his shoulder, without really paying much heed to the content of the context at hand. Even the frequent use of green-screens is apparent to the naivest of eye, which should’ve been taken care of.

But that said, it isn’t a failed show altogether. There’s some really engaging humour, courtesy the lead star Kumar, his sidekick – the very funny – Divyendu and the dependable Bhumi Pednekar. The romantic track goes well initially, but loses track in the second half. In fact, the first half has a lot to like. The build-up to the cause of concern is nice, and the raw, rural feel of the film is totally palpable. The makers needed to propel the same feel, right till the very end. The message, although not very impressively presented, does the job to some extent, but would’ve loved to see it go all the way. The last half-an-hour seems uselessly stretched, and even the climax seems highly manipulated. After the interval mark, the protagonist’s arguments just keep going in a loop, which makes the watching experience seem highly repetitive.

Of the actors, Akshay Kumar carries the burden, and does an immaculate job. His depiction is authentic, and he excels as much in the dramatic portions, as he does in the funny ones. The film wouldn’t have been half as watchable if it wasn’t for him. Bhumi Pednekar too is impressive. Her strength lies in never going over-the-top, yet maintaining the desired force. Divyendu Sharma shines as Kumar’s younger brother, and proves his adeptness at comedy yet again. Sudhir Pandey is good, but at times borders on hamming. The remaining cast does a decent job.

To sum up, TOILET: EK PREM KATHA is a decent entertainer, but lacks the punch that could nail the cause in the minds of its viewers. Worth a watch, nevertheless!

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