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

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toilet ek prem katha

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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‘Sultan’ wins three awards at Tehran film fest

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Sultan

Mumbai, Jan 22: “Sultan” director Ali Abbas Zafar and its actors Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma emerged winners at the Tehran International Sports Film Festival.

Zafar won a Honorary Diploma for the Best Director of Long Narrative, while Salman and Anushka won the Best Actor and Diploma in the Long Narrative section and the Best Actress trophy and diploma in the Long Narrative section, read a statement from the movie’s production banner Yash Raj Films.

“‘Sultan’ has cut across borders, cultures and languages with its powerful story, performances and honest belief in the life changing impact of a sport. The team and I are very thankful to the organisers at Tehran International Sports Film Festival for their appreciation and love,” Zafar said in a statement.

“Sultan” revolves around a middle-aged wrestler, who gives up the sport. Years later, he sets out to revive his career as he needs the prize money and wants to regain his lost respect.

IANS

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‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ release shifted to February 23

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Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

Mumbai, Jan 22: The makers of “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety” have announced that the film will now release on February 23 in the wake of the changes in the Bollywood calendar due to “Padmaavat” and “Pad Man”.

The film was earlier to release on February 9, a date when “Pad Man” and “Aiyaary” are slated to hit the screens.

The makers did not think it was beneficial for anyone if three films of this size release on the same date. So, they decided to postpone it.

“We are all aware of the recent developments with regards to release dates. It didn’t seem logical to stick to a Friday so crowded,” Luv Ranjan, writer and director of “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety”, told IANS.

A new-age love triangle set in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the film is produced by T-Series’ Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Luv Films’ Luv Ranjan and Ankur Garg. It features Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Singh.

The Bollywood calendar got shaken up after Akshay Kumar decided to shift his much-awaited “Pad Man” to February 9 from the January 25 date, leaving the pre-Republic Day release window open for a solo release for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial drama “Padmaavat”.

When “Padmaavat” was announced to have a clash with “Pad Man”, the makers of “Aiyaary” had altered its release date from January 25 to February 9.

Now, “Pad Man” and “Aiyaary” will once again be competing at the box office.

IANS

 
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B’Day Special: Rank holder in AIEEE to assistant director, few lesser known facts about Sushant

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Sushant Singh Rajput

New Delhi, Jan 21: Sushant Singh Rajput is celebrating his 32nd birthday today. The actor with his amazing acting skills, and killing attitude rocked the Indian cinema with films like Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, PK, Shuddh Desi Romance and Kai Po Che!

Image result for sushant singh

Sushant was born in Patna, Bihar in a Rajput family. His ancestral village is Maldiha in Bihar’s Purnia district.  His mother’s death in 2002 left Sushant devastated and it was in the same year that the family moved from Patna to Delhi.

He started his career with television serials, including an award-winning performance in the soap opera Pavitra Rishta (2009–2011) and as a participant in two dance reality shows.

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Pavitra Rishta

He then entered films with a role as one of the three male leads in the drama Kai Po Che! (2013), for which he received critical acclaim as well as three Best Male Debut awards.

Image result for sushant in Kai Po Che

His other notable films since then have been as male lead of the romantic comedy Shuddh Desi Romance (2014) and as the titular detective in the thriller Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!. In 2016, Rajput appeared in Sports drama M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, in which he essayed the role of Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the film was a commercial success and earned him critical acclaim and not many know that the talented and good-looking actor had almost chosen another career path for himself, that of an engineer.

And it looks like the actor made the right decision, as all seems to be working in his favour. Sushant is currently shooting for Abhishek Kapoor’s Kedarnath where he co-stars with Sara Ali Khan and Abhishek Chaubey’s Chambal with Bhumi Pednekar.

Here are some lesser-known facts about the talented star:

1. Rank holder in AIEEE- Sushant was an All India 7th highest scorer in AIEEE exam conducted for engineering students. He was studying for Mechanical Engineering, but dropped out in his last year after he realised that he wanted to pursue acting.

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2. National Olympiad Winner- He was also a National Olympiad Winner in Physics. In all, he cleared as many as eleven engineering entrance exams, including that for the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. H

3. Debut in Small Screen with Balaji- Many think the popular daily soap Pavitra Rishta was his television debut, but no, this is not true. He started his acting career with the role of Preet Juneja in the daily soap Kis Desh Mein Hai Dil Mera.

4. Fabulous Dancer- Apart from being a good actor, he is also known as a fabulous dancer.

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He was trained at the Shiamak Davar Dance Academy and performed as a background dancer for various award shows before  getting his first screen role. He even participated in a couple of popular dance reality shows, including Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4 and Zara Nachke Dikha.

5. Sushant is a multi-talented man. Not only is he a capable actor and a good dancer, but the actor has also learned martial arts from Allan Amin.

6. It Took almost one and a half year for Sushant to prepare for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s biopicand Sushant practised the ‘Helicopter shot’ for M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story 225 times a day!

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7. Heart-throb of millions of girls- Sushant’s favourite actor is Daniel Day Lewis.

8. Assistant Director- Not just an actor, he had also worked as an assistant director on Mohit Suri’s on Raaz 2.

Here’s Wishing Sushant Singh Rajput a very Happy Birthday!

WeForNews

 

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