On Sunday morning a photo appeared on Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s Instagram feed; it set off a flurry of activity in his fandom and beyond. The photo showed the actor posing with his co-star from a new film, Bhumi Pednekar, for a selfie next to a toilet seat. Yes, you read that right, the actor was posing next to a toilet. The reason? His upcoming movie, Toilet —Ek Prem Katha, for which shooting started this Sunday in Barsana near Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.
The film’s plot revolves around the issue of open defecation and attitudes surrounding the practice. It might be an opportune time to draw attention to the movie, as the world gets ready to celebrate World Toilet Day on November 19. The highest number of people in the world who defecate in the open live in India, where the rate of open defecation is almost 30%.
The film, which is the directorial debut of Shree Narayan Singh, is being described as an unconventional love story and social satire. “We are taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan,” Vikram Malhotra of Abundantia Entertainment, one of the producers of the film, is quoted saying in a Times of India piece. In another interview to TOI, Vikram describes what makes the film unique. “Rarely do you come across a concept and a script that has a social message woven into it in such an entertaining manner,” he says. “The story of this film is funny, heart-warming and hugely impactful. It’s the kind of movie that today’s youth will easily relate to.”
The other co-producers of Toilet – Ek Prem Katha are Cape of Good Films and Friday Filmworks. Shital Bhatia at Friday Filmworks told Times of India that the crux of the film could be captured in one line: “Log pyaar mein apni biwi ke liye Taj Mahal banwate hain, yeh kahani uss aadmi ki hai jisne apni biwi ke liye toilet banwaya!”
The story also highlights the active participation of women in changing attitudes towards open defecation. It is scripted by Garima-Siddhartha, of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela fame. To retain an authentic feel, the film will be shot in real locations rather than on sets. It is slated for release next year.
You can follow Akshay Kumar on Instagram here.
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Credit for cover photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/BMdSsIqABMr/