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Opinion: Akshay Kumar’s Toilet Ek Prem Katha is a lost opportunity because it is more of a Government Propaganda film than an Entertainer.
Akshay Kumar is India’s new Manoj Kumar or I would say ‘India’s Government Hero’ which is a new thing in this NDA reign and without any surprise Toilet Ek Prem Katha is an ode to our PM. This is a new low for Indian cinema where the makers are just saying anything and everything to praise the Modi led Sarkar through the characters.
I am not saying the director and the editor of the film Shree Narayan Singh and Akshay Kumar for not being a fan of Modi but ranting about his deeds (don’t read misdeeds) as the worshipper of Vishnu on celluloid is too much to handle. We have seen Vidya Balan doing Public service Advertisement to create awareness in the country to make toilets in the village since 2011 only but here in the movie everything began only after ‘God’ Modi came into the power. The second half is stretched and wavered, Narayan Singh lost the control of what would have been a great film. And that dialogue, ‘if Modi ji could introduce Notebandi for the betterment then why can I not lock these toilets for the good of the country?’ Seriously?? Demonetization and good for the country? You must be joking, I am not a mindless illiterate, I know the reality and don’t compel me to tell what are the effects of that evil decision because this is a film review only and I want to stick to it unlike the film. So after the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the mention of Demonetization I was waiting to hear a thing or two about GST, Patanjali and even Mann Ki Baat in the film but thankfully they have saved it for the next I guess.
It does not mean that the entire film is a waste, first half is a good typical Bollywood entertainer and because of the unique subject of toilet it looks different too, I want to give credit to Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey to back this topic of hygiene and importance of toilets in the country but the execution is not up to the mark. Though Akshay Kumar as Keshav delivers a brilliant performance, his comic timing is impeccable and even in the dramatic emotional scenes he came out as a Victor. Watch out for the scene when Keshav’s father destroys the toilet, Kumar is in top form. So another National award in store? This time he delivers too. Bhumi Pednekar on the other hand is equally riveting, she is so believable as Jaya and is a great change as far as the female leads of our cinema is concerned. The chemistry between the two is very good and provides good breeze of fresh air. Divyendu Sharma as the younger brother of Kumar is first rate, he shines big time, Sudhir Pandey as Kumar’s father is nice. I did not liked Anupam Kher’s role and his performance. The editing of Narayan Singh is an issue along with his government bhakti. Art direction is top notch but the script of Siddharth Singh and Garima Wahal tries too hard to give the message and instead of finding message in the second half I had to find the film in the message. Music is ordinary and the BGM is populist. It is a lost opportunity, a noble topic looks more of a Government propaganda film. In the last frame Akshay Kumar tells that we should not ask for money from the government to make our toilets because we never ask for it while purchasing a Television or a Fridge but my friend what about those who are poor? And mind you our country is filled with poverty, every government is just our service provider, we pay taxes on every little thing we purchase and in return we want services, poor ones the most.
The movie has some beautiful moment but make films for entertainment and creative satisfaction not to please the government, it will change after 5 years and your film will fail to pass the test of time. I wanted to go with 2.5 stars but just for the noble cause it deals with I am going with 3 stars, and for the record not to please anyone. I hate Chamchagiri!