Toilet Ek Prem Katha review: Akshay Kumar is the new cheerleader of PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Toilet Ek Prem Katha is the big Bollywood release this week and here is our review.

Will Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar’s film live up to the hype surrounding it? Here is our Toilet Ek Prem Katha movie review.

Toilet Ek Prem Katha Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Anupam Kher

Toilet Ek Prem Katha Director: Shree Narayan Singh

Toilet Ek Prem Katha Rating:(3/5)

From Salman Khan to Priyanka Chopra, several Bollywood bigwigs picked up a broom to extend their support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Akshay Kumar took it to the next level and decided to be the mission’s official cheerleader and feature in a full-length film revolving around it.

It is no surprise, then, that some of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’s dialogues sound like something straight out of a public service announcement – “Biwi paas chahiye, toh ghar mein sandaas chahiye,” “problem shauch ki nahi, soch ki hai.”

The story is this. Keshav (Akshay) is a 36-year-old manglik who has been unable to find a bride. Enter Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar). After some initial stalking turned into love, the two get married. But all hell breaks loose when Jaya is woken up at 4am by the ladies of the village to join their “lota party”.

Turns out, there is not a single toilet in the village, and the women go into the fields while it is still dark to relieve themselves. Jaya refuses to answer nature’s call in the open, and walks out of her marital home until Keshav builds a toilet for her.

Problem is, the village elders will not budge – “Jis aangan mein tulsi lagate hai, wahaan shauch karna shuru kar de?” Under these circumstances, will Keshav and Jaya ever be reunited?

Since Baby (2015), Akshay Kumar has not let the patriot in him take a backseat. In Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, too, he launches into lofty monologues about the menace of open defecation, especially its impact on women. He singlehandedly fights against the “sabhyata” and “sanskriti” squad and vows to get a toilet installed in the village. The storytelling can get tawdry at times, but Akshay manages to bring earnestness into his character.
Bhumi Pednekar makes Jaya human; at no point does the audience feel like it is an actor essaying the part on screen. She is remarkable as the college topper who stands up for her right.

Some parts of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha could very well be an election campaign for the ruling party. Sample this: Who is responsible for the toilet scams worth thousands of crores? The people, of course! The film tells us that the government is doing its best to install toilets, but the people just won’t change their mindset and let that happen. There is also a dialogue along the lines of, “Jab humare pradhan mantri desh ke bhalayi ke liye notebandi karwa sake hai, toh hum itna sa nahi kar sakte?”

What works for the film is the hinterland humour. In an elaborate sequence, Akshay Kumar’s character gets married to a buffalo to get rid of his “manglik dosh”. It is the laughs which take away your unease about the length of the two-and-a-half-hour-long film.

If you can manage to overlook its preachiness at times, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is worth the price of your ticket, GST included.

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