Story : Toilet - Ek Prem Katha traces the love story between 'jugadbaaz' Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and progressive girl Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), set in two villages near Mathura. where at least 80% of households are without any access to a lavatories. Conflict comes knocking on the first day of their marriage, when Jaya leaves Keshav's house for good, after discovering that there is no toilet in the home. Distraught and desperate, Keshav sets out on mission to win back his love- by battling against the age old traditions, mind-set and value system of his country.
Review : Well open defecation is not a comfortable topic which is discussed in our living room. But the movie has beautifully criticized an age-old tradition with all the satires used in the right places. As the trailer showcased, the film is about a newly married couple, living in rural-ish India. The wife walks out of her husband's home within days of her marriage as they don't have a toilet at home and she is against the idea of defecating in the open, with the 'Lota Party' of the village.
Talking about the lead cast, Akshay Kumar has always delivered his A-game in Neeraj Pandey films and this role comes naturally to him. He is playing his age, of a not-married bachelor in his late 30s and dons the role of a helpless crusader, fighting for his wife's cause. Bhumi is a refreshing face in Hindi cinema. She plays her role of a traditional wife as convincingly as the strong-willed lady who challenges male stereotypes like covering her head in the house, riding a male bicycle to open defecation.
The first half of the film is crisp and tightly packed but the same can't be said about the other half. The second half was decidedly a crash course on the existing government’s noble attempts at providing toilets across India and to highlight the narrow-mindedness among Indians who are shackled by cultural and religious beliefs, but that is expected if you have a much-debatable topic like open defecation to be addressed. It might feel a bit predictable but it is not something you can't sit through.
TEPK which clocks 175 minutes would have benefited from tighter editing and fewer numbers of songs that showcase courtship, heartbreak and divorce. Overall, this love-story which sends a strong message to everyone doesn’t stink and is a good entertainer which leaves you with a food for thought after you exit the movie hall.