Back in 1985, while attending my maternal uncle’s marriage, I had visited the fields twice, with lota ( a pot filled with water) in hand. An experience likely most of my friends today wouldn’t have ever got, our kids unlikelier to get ever. That way, Toilet Ek Prem Katha (TEPK) may come as an unrealistic horror story too difficult to relate for today’s multiplex audiences. I warmed myself up to this movie by watching the brilliant Tamil National Award winning flick Joker. TEPK’s basic premise of a newly wed bride discontinuing her stay due to an absence of a toilet is inspired from Joker, commoner Anita Narre’s real life and from Prime Minister Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
TEPK’s funny first half takes us to an Indian semi town paradox. Mandgaon has access to Facebook, to eBay, even to Sunny Leone on satellite television. However, come early morning, the ladies need to join a lota party, straight inside wild jungles. It’s a society where men flash tractor lights to see women defecate, chase and record ladies on mobile phones, park two wheelers in middle of the road, apply soil to wounds and never wash hands after toilet.
The repulsive angle
The thought of a house without toilet itself is too repulsive to back up. The alternate argument is if there is no concept of purity in life, then why not build crematorium within every house? Deep inside, all of us wish God had made alternate mechanisms to excrete .. than shitting out. After seeing TEPK I wish our mythological (Ramayana, Mahabharata) and folk tales had given enough importance to sanitation. The question remains, how did Ram & Sita defecate in the forests?
It’s said, the reality of marriage dawns after a year. For Keshav (Akshay Kumar) it came first dawn itself from where the drama unfolds. Just before that, don’t miss his excellent dance exuding happiness on getting married. Or his libido related one liner – ‘Insaan Hoon Main, Machine Nahi’ – repeated from the 2004 Rajkumar Santoshi classic Khakee. Akshay is good enough to even carry off fake brands like Evils & Uima as good as Levi’s and Puma. Bhumi Pednekar and Dibyendu Sharma are also in excellent form.
The movie advocates Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, its execution challenges and the need for a mindset change, repeatedly. It also hints enough at toilet related scams done by the previous Congress led UPA government. Naturally, the second half is extended, preachy and will be boring to snooty multiplex audiences who diet on Dunkirks. The right audience for this movie is the rest 90% of India, the true India. And they need to watch all of the 155 minutes.
Rating: 3.5/5 (Must watch for common man, Dunkirk fans can give it a miss)
Movies I recommend watching after TEPK:
1) Joker (Tamil) – Raju Murugan’s must watch movie. I rate it 4.5/5 stuff.
2) Khakhee – Bollywood’s gold standard cop movie.
3) Piku – The best movie ever on shit!