Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (transl. Toilet: A Love Story) is a 2017 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film directed by Shree Narayan Singh. Co-produced by Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey, the film stars Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead roles, with Anupam Kher, Sudhir Pandey and Divyendu Sharma in supporting roles. The film was released on 11 August 2017. The film is a satirical comedy in support of governmental campaigns to improve sanitation conditions in India, with an emphasis on the eradication of open defecation, especially in rural areas.
The film was a commercial success, becoming Akshay Kumar’s highest-grossing film all time and highest grosser world wide too, and his first film to ₹300 crore. The film highlights India’s toilet problem, which is caused by their cultural and religious sentiments. In Indian rural areas, people still do not have this basic necessity, which frustrates women which further leads to sexual harassment. The film received three nominations at the 63rd Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, Best Director for Narayan Singh and Best Actor for Akshay Kumar.
In an Indian village, a group of women goes to a field, away from their village near Gorakhpur in the early hours of the day to defecate in the open, behind the cover of bushes. Keshav (Akshay Kumar) has to marry a black buffalo because his father (Panditji) is a very religious and superstitious priest, and he believes that his son’s marriage to a black buffalo will help improve Keshav’s fortune.
Keshav meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), an educated college going girl, falls in love with her and eventually convinces her to marry him. However, Keshav’s father is of the view that Keshav’s horoscope is such that he can and should only marry a girl who has two thumbs on her left hand. Since Jaya does not fulfill this requirement, Keshav has an artificial thumb made and gives it to Jaya who wears it as a ring on her thumb. Keshav’s unsuspecting father agrees to their marriage.
On her first morning in Keshav’s house, Jaya reluctantly goes to a field to defecate, but comes back agitated without defecating and complains about it to Keshav. Despite Keshav’s repeated attempts to convince Jaya to give up her stubbornness about needing a toilet, Jaya remains steadfast. He makes a couple of temporary adjustments to solve the problem, first taking her to a neighbour’s house which has a portable toilet for a bedridden elderly woman, and later in a train that has a seven-minute stop at the village railway station, without actually constructing a toilet in his house, but after a while, one day she gets locked up in the toilet and train departs the station and agitated and frustrated Jaya leaves Keshav and moves back to her parents’ house.
After a futile attempt to convince his sarpanch and villagers to build toilets in the village, Keshav, with the help of Jaya, contacts the concerned regulatory authority and starts the construction of a toilet in his front yard. When the construction is finished, Keshav’s father and the sarpanch arrange to demolish the toilet while Keshav is still asleep. But Keshav wakes up before the toilet is completely destroyed and protects it from complete demolition.
Jaya now files for a divorce in the local court citing the unavailability of a toilet in her husband’s house as the primary reason for seeking a divorce. Due to its unique nature, the case receives much media attention. Politicians and the concerned government departments spring into action to hasten the construction of toilets in Keshav’s village. But Keshav’s father remains steadfast on his decision to not have a toilet in his house, until one day, his mother, while going out to defecate, falls on the doorstep, injures her hip and cries vehemently that she can’t possibly walk to the fields to defecate, and that she must use the toilet that Keshav constructed in the front yard. After much reluctance, Keshav’s father gives in and helps his mother to the toilet. He then realises that a toilet is indeed a critical requirement within a household.
On the day of the hearing of the divorce case of Keshav and Jaya, the judge gets an official notice from the Chief Minister’s office urging the judge to not grant their divorce as the construction of toilets in their village shall be started the very next day. The couple comes out together happily. Keshav’s father apologises to Jaya for his stubbornness. In the end credits, villagers are shown lining up to use mobile toilets outside their village while the construction of toilets throughout the village proceeds.
Akshay Kumar as Keshav Sharma
Bhumi Pednekar as Jaya Joshi Sharma
Divyendu Sharma as Narayan (“Naru”) Sharma
Anupam Kher as Dinanath (“DJ Kakka”) Joshi
Sudhir Pandey as Pandit Vimalnath Sharma (“Panditji” or “Vimu”), Keshav and Naru’s father
Atul Srivastava as Jagdish, Jaya’s father
Ayesha Raza Mishra as Vidya Joshi, Jaya’s mother
Rajesh Sharma as Mathur
Shubha Khote as Rampyari (“Dadi”) Sharma, Keshav’s grandmother
Mukesh S Bhatt as Rastogi
Kimti Anand as Pradhan
Rati Shankar Tripathi as Sarpanch
Sachin Khedekar as Director (cameo)
Sana Khan as Keshav’s unnamed lover (cameo)
Richa Tiwari as Reporter
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