Pakistan and India came into existence in 1947 – while India has flourished in a few departments, they have lacked in many and the non-existence of toilets in most of the country remains a problem even after 70 years. Akshay Kumar’s Toilet – Ek Prem Katha targets the issue that has been part of Indian democracy for a long time and comes out as a winner since it asks a question instead of avoiding it.
What makes TEPK a must-watch film is the manner in which it handles the topic of less number of Toilets in India. In fact, it should serve as a benchmark for filmmakers on this side of the border who only include toilet jokes in their films to make the non-existent frontbenchers laugh.
Every character in the film has a role to play – the father is the main opposition towards change; the kid brother supports his elder sibling but also can’t go against the father; the wife threatens to leave her husband if he doesn’t go against his father and the in-laws who are progressive enough to have a toilet in their home.
Akshay Kumar is one of those actors who know how to stand their ground when the going gets tough – at 50, he is working in films that tackle the bigger issues rather than go for box office results. For some, the issue to fewer toilets may seem crappy but trust me, it was something that was needed to be done.
Bhumi Pednekar is good in the scenes after her marriage to Akshay’s character as that’s her strength – playing a girl in love isn’t. To raise an issue in a country that has easier access to mobile phones than toilets is a commendable effort.
Like last year’s Actor in Law, it goes against the norms and comes out as a satire that might change the mindset of a few individuals. For a film, that’s surely a measure of success as not all get to deliver the message!
When the content is strong and the director is intelligent enough to predict how the audience will react, the result is a progressive film that may have a ‘dirty’ title but there is not an inch of crassness in the film to show anything related to a toilet. The issue may not be a common one in Pakistan but it certainly is common in the neighbouring country.
It went houseful on the first day at a multiplex in Karachi proving that the cinegoers of Pakistan will appreciate anything that teaches them something new.
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