Toilet:Ek Prem Katha: delivers its message but as a film, its just another in the lot

The Cinema Station’s Rating: Ordinary Non AC chair car journey

Starting with Baby in 2015, Akshay Kumar’s spirit of patriotism and urge to end the social taboos within the Indian society has been quite evident in his films. Within 2017 itself, he attacked fake encounters and power abuse with Jolly LLB 2 and now with Toilet, the veteran looks to educate people on sanitation and use of toilets in households. Well, to be on the side of Bollywood, the film does pack a punch with its delivery and surely looks the one to spread the message, but as a film, it’s just another ordinary piece of cinema which misses on some important aspects.

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The film is set in the rural sectors and small towns of Uttar Pradesh in India and as per the film’s mood, it fits the scene. The makers handle the dialect, screenplay, casting and scene settings with momentum through a major section of the film. But if these attributes earn the applause, patched quality of the cinematography and abundant songs that constantly spoil with the momentum the film builds, spoil the flavor. The journey unrolls with a gabroo Keshav (Akshay Kumar), who fears his father (Sudhir Pandey)so much that he agrees to marry a Buffalo on superstitious grounds. As things unveil the director prefers the audience deal with a love story for a good 40 minutes before actually facing a glimpse of the issue the film looks to tackle. Again, the romance is very ordinary yet adorable and it does not take much time for a hot headed, egoistic and educated Jaya (Bhumi Padnekar) to fall for her stalker, Keshav.

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The first half of the film is over stretched as we see unnecessary scenes and frequent songs all valiantly dragging the journey to the climax station. Given his expertise as an editor, it’s surprising how does the director, Shree Narayan Singh, let such unwanted chunks transpire in his final cut. The quirky and amusing screenplay coupled with Akshay and Bhumi’s chemistry helps digest an otherwise tasteless first half. The second half picks up as if in the middle of a roller coaster ride and for some reason, it feels right. The songs are out, the action is purposeful and everyone starts behaving as they should have in the first half. The second half seems more meaningful and more related to the film as it resurfaces interesting information about scams and ‘ghotalas’ related to the Government’s sanitation program. It’s now that Akshay and Bhumi’s love story feels correct as it helps the film progress.

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The film gets its casting spot on as every character leaves an impression on the screen. The return of Divyendu Sharma into mainstream cinema is enjoyable as he picks up his form from his famous role of Liquid from Pyaar Ka Punchnama. The presence of Anupam Kher (Kakka), Sudhir Pandey, Mukesh Pandey (Rastogi), Rajesh Sharma and Atul Srivastava (Jaya’s father) definitely enhance the look and quality of the film.

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If we scrutinize, there were things really wrong with the way the story was built up in the first place. This journey which was heavily disturbing in the first half somehow achieved a stable tone in the second half to end things with a silver lining. Despite, not a very great experience, I’d urge the masses to watch the film as it adds a valuable message to the end of its 160 minutes running time.

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