Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Anupam Kher
Director: Shree Narayan Singh
IMBd ratings – 8.4
It’s fitting that Akshay Kumar has greenlit and played the lead in this film, which is more a primer of How To Break Social Taboos and Make Toilets rather than a powerful social drama. The moment a film succumbs to being the carrier of a Message as opposed to a message, it becomes burdened.
Akshay has been playing the nationalist hero in his last few films, filling in the space that Manoj Kumar had left vacant. And he’s done a good job with it: there’s something in the way he comes at being earnest that you want to believe
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.
This kind of film, where the s**t literally hits the fan, where you can see real turd droppings, and the dialogue is filled with such ‘sanskaari-sarkaari’ words like ‘soch’, ‘shauchalaya’ and ‘sandaas’, needs a light touch. You need the ‘khadi boli’ of Mathura, where the film is set, spoken with a great deal more authenticity. And above all, if you are going to give me a feisty heroine who is happy to throw off her ‘ghoonghat’, and rail against patriarchy, you should not make her touch anyone’s feet. If you are making a film that hoists a flag for a strong feminist ideal, then don’t waver, and confuse it with stuffing the film with too many issues.
Otherwise, you dilute and confuse things, especially because your lead actors have stayed the smelly course.