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‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ Movie Review: A directorial triumph

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Film: “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Divyendu Sharma, Sudhir Pande and Anupam Kher

Rating: ****

Review: Gone are the days when Indian films were made to bring about change in the society. But, with ‘Toilet- Ek Prem Katha’, the trend has surely come back. Since the time it was announced by the makers, the film has caused a storm all over.

Contributing to the honourable PM Narendra Modi’s Swach Bharat Abhiyan or cleanliness campaign, ‘Toilet- Ek Prem Katha’ is a social satire which is directed by Shree Narayan Singh. In the recent years, Akshay Kumar has been doing a lot of realistic cinema– from ‘Airlift’ to ‘Rustom’ and now ‘Toilet…’

There is a point of no return in the plot when we, the audience, become so immersed in the protagonist’s crusade for a better tomorrow that we are cheering and stomping our feet in encouragement for that bright sunshine-drenched tomorrow of which Sahir Ludhianvi dreamt in “Pyaasa” and “Phir Subah Hogi”.

Our protagonist Madhav’s battle is not really reformatory in the way the great heroes of our times meant it to be. In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s “Satyakam”, when the protagonist Dharmendra marries the rape victim, he does it with the least amount of self-congratulations. In “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”, Akshay Kumar’s mission to build a toilet for his wife is compared with Shah Jahan building the Taj Mahal for his wife.

I wonder who should feel more affronted by such flamboyant self-glorification: Moghul history or Modi politics. Either way, there is much too much self-congratulations and heroic hurrahs playing at the foreground of this eventful drama, accompanied by an over-punctuated background score.

Akshay Kumar means business. This film is not so much a vehicle to promote the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat campaign as to promote Akshay Kumar, period. He milks the film for all his trademark chuckles and giggles, making Madhav seem like a Basu Chatterjee hero with a certain sly and smooth sinewiness to his heroism.

It is debutant director Shree Narayan Singh who proves you don’t need extra sinewiness to shine in every frame. He is the Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee of our times. He makes hygiene and sanitation seem humorous without trivialising or tempering the issue. The sorority evidenced among the village women as they troop off in the morning for nature’s call is captured with a respectful laugh.

Here is proof that a film can make a social point without wearing a constantly sullen demeanour.

Throughout the lengthy film, the director maintains a kinetic momentum. He has his character’s feelings on his fingertips. He digs into the high-points in the drama with the disarmed delight of a kid scooping into a bowl of icecream. He negotiates the dips and curves in this bombastic tale of a man who must fight ‘sanskaar’ (no no, not the kind favoured by the censor board) to build a toilet for his newly married wife.

A warm earthiness and a nimble wisdom pervade the storytelling. The plot is a pyramid of high-pitched drama captured in the basic colours of nature’s components by cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley (he had shot the first “Jolly LLB” film using an equally gritty palate). That the director is also the editor, helps him to remain on top of the commodious material. But the film could have been shortened post-interval where some of the toilet-building drama gets repetitive and shrill.

Though the high-pitched propagandist tenor and tone of the narration become overpowering after a point — as does Akshay Kumar’s exaggerated humanism — the film keeps us absolutely close to its heart as Madhav and Jaya’s love story acquires a universality by dint of their intimate affinity to the grassroot level of existence.

Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar play against one another in sparring spasms, their age difference notwithstanding. They look like a couple. The real performing sparks fly when the supporting cast — Sudhir Pande, Divyendu Sharma, Anupam Kher — are around to lend heft to the socio-political argument on how women in rural India need dignity before empowerment.

This is essentially a cause-without-pause melodrama set at an opulent octave. Happily, director Shree Narayan Singh counterbalances those shrill notes of self-righteousness and propaganda with just the right doses of warmth, humour and irony.

Don’t look for subtlety in the storytelling in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” and you will come away a happy viewer with some relevant thoughts on how non-metropolitan India exists without caving into a depression.

IANS

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Varun Dhawan dances with fans on Hindi numbers in Bangkok mall

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Bangkok, June 23: From “Tan tana tan” to “Badrinath ki dulhania” and “Palat”, actor Varun Dhawan danced to his popular tracks at a mall here on Saturday.

Fans flocked in huge numbers at the luxurious Emquartier mall here, just to get a glimpse of their favourite star Varun, who looked dapper in a casual white t-shirt, jeans and powder blue shirt.

CHARGE 🏃🏻‍♂️day 2 IIFA @31philliplim @officialslystallone

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As Varun entered, the crowd welcomed him with loud cheers and whistles. He even shook a leg with two children and was heard speaking in Thai.

The actor also reminisced about shooting in Bangkok for his film “Main Tera Hero” in 2014. The film also starred Ileana D’Cruz and Nargis Fakhri.

The “Badlapur” star also gave away six passes to his fans of the 19th edition of the International Indian Films Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards main gala, which will be held on Sunday.

IIFA ROCKS wearing @kunalrawaldstress

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Apart from Varun, several Bollywood personalities like Arjun Kapoor, Bobby Deol and Shraddha Kapoor will be seen lighting the stage in Sunday.

This year’s IIFA commencing will not just feature power-packed performances by celebrities including the evergreen Rekha — performing live on stage after 20 years — but will seek to raise awareness about women’s empowerment, gender equality and plastic pollution.

The event, which will be taking place at the Siam Niramit theatre, will be co-hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar and actor Riteish Deshmukh.

WeForNews

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Nick Jonas makes his relationship with Priyanka Chopra Insta-official

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New Delhi, June 23: Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra have just made their relationship Instagram official!

Months of rumours and speculations, finally lead up to this moment of the two lovers going public and what better place than in Mumbai?

Media reports had suggested earlier that Priyanka brought Nick to India to introduce him to her mother Madhu Chopra. Well, the American singer did meet Priyanka’s mother over dinner at an upscale restaurant in Mumbai’s Bandra.

Post the dinner, the two were photographed stepping out of the posh eatery hand-in-hand, adding fuel to the fire.

#priyankachopra #nickjonas ❤️❤️❤️😍😍

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#nickjonas and #priyankachopra today

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By posting a super cute video on his Instagram story, Nick made his relationship with Desi girl Instagram official!

The video shows Priyanka walking toward him while she danced in the rain and he captioned it, “Her” alongside a heart-eyes emoji.

Earlier this month, Nick took Priyanka home to meet his family at his cousin’s wedding in New Jersey. Priyanka also had brunch with Nick’s family members and was seen spending some quality time with them.

Priyanka Chopra nick jonas

The stars first sparked romance rumours at the 2017 MET Gala, when they walked the red-carpet together.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

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Joe Jackson hospitalized, in final stages of terminal cancer

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Los Angeles, June 23: Joe Jackson, father of Michael, Janet and the performing family, and architect of The Jackson 5, is in the final stages of terminal cancer, a source close to the situation confirmed to Variety.com.

Family members, including his wife Katherine, are said to have visited him in the hospital this week, reports the website.

Jackson, 89, has suffered from a variety of ailments in recent years, including dementia, strokes, and at least one heart attack, according to reports. He was injured in a car accident a year ago.

The famously headstrong Jackson, the father of 11 children, drove his performing family hard and at times subjected them to physical and mental abuse; the original Jackson 5 included sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael, although younger sibling Randy also performed with the group and daughters LaToya, Rebbie, and, most famously, Janet also released albums.

Over the decades, Joe has had a contentious relationship with many family members, including Michael.

The Daily Mail claims that Jackson’s “handlers” had barred certain family members from visiting him, which son and former Jackson 5 member Jermaine spoke about to the paper.

The Jackson family patriarch has lived in Las Vegas for several years. One of his most recent public appearances was at the BET Awards in 2015, attending with his daughter Janet as she accepted the ultimate icon award. That same year, he suffered a stroke that reportedly left him with temporarily blurred vision.

IANS

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