“Toilet Ek Prem Katha”- How Sanitation Overrules Romance

A Rustic View

Picture a simple village in the remotest corner of India. You see green trees, wide fields, towering hills and a rippling river. There is beauty and happiness all around. Suddenly, in the distance you see many women walking across the fields in their rustic splendor, their anklets tinkling as they walk gracefully across the field, close to the river.

What follows next is shocking and humiliating. Their face is covered with their veil, but they still look uncomfortable and are self-conscious. They try to see if anyone is looking and sit among the grass, shielding their honor to the best of their ability. At times, they have to wait until darkness to relieve themselves out in the open . This is hazardous and unhygienic.

Inversion of rules and values

This hypocrisy exists in India. On one hand, men urinating and defecating in the streets is acceptable. On the other hand, women can’t have a private room in their own house to relieve themselves. Instead, they have to excrete in the fields, leaving them victims to voyeurism and rape.

The Prime Minister’s Preventive Measures

Swacch Bharat Abhiyan was a national awareness program that was initiated on October 2, 2014 by Narendra Modi and it aims at eradicating open defecation by 2019.

4041 cities and towns have been included in this national project where improvements have already started to take place.

The Director’s Touch

Keeping this endeavor in mind, Shree Narayan Singh, directed a film named Toilet- Ek Prem Katha. Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar starred in this film. Akshay Kumar plays the role of a simple villager named Keshav, who is astrologically a maanglik. Despite all obstacles, Keshav finds a woman named Jaya, with whom he decides to raise a family.

Jaya, after joining Keshav’s family in rural India, discovers with shock and horror that all the women in her house go out to the open fields to relieve themselves. She cannot accept this as she is used to having her own privacy and space for bathing n relieving herself.

We discover from the movie’s trailer that Keshav is a comedian. His dialogues make us laugh.

Bhumi has awe-inspiring dialogues in this film which raise questions about the position of women in society even in a progressive century like ours. She advocates women’s empowerment by asking for basic needs such as sanitation and hygiene.

We find comical elements in this film and we see a love-struck stalker, Keshav, pursuing his lady love with the zeal and happiness of a patriot who dies for his nation. This parallel has been comically drawn and we laugh every time we see his irrational pursuit.

This film was released on 2nd June, 2017. It has been a success till date and aims at generating mass awareness.

We can only be hopeful that this director’s attempt can spread awareness and make all the urban and rural population think and assist women wherever they may need assistance. We have instances of men invading women’s privacy and them being humiliated by setting up cameras in changing rooms. We also know about hidden cameras in shops and hotels and people leering at women on the street. This movie may assist all those gentlemen out there to protect and preserve the dignity of their mothers, wives and sisters.