Opening this week

‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ film review: What’s next? ‘Aadhaar: Ek Prem Kahani?’

Shree Narayan Singh’s earnest but preachy movie, starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar, is an unabashed plug for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

If there is a more convoluted way to hammer home the message that a house needs an attached toilet, we don’t want to know.

Keshav (Akshay Kumar) is not yet married because his orthodox priest father (Sudhir Pandey) has put forth a list of demands for the kind of daughter-in-law he wants, one of which is that she must have six fingers “like Hrithik Roshan”.

Rather than slipping a toxic substance into his father’s tea, Keshav puts up with the situation, but loses his resolve when he meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar). Her firebrand ways impress him, and a wedding takes place by hoodwinking the father in the matter of the six fingers. But the real scam, as Jaya discovers, is that Keshav’s house doesn’t have an attached toilet. Unable to relieve herself in the fields like the rest of the village women, she walks out.

Keshav is initially unmoved, but his love for Jaya makes him realise that she might have a point after all. He sets out to convert his father and the rest of the village towards the cause of building toilets and contributing to the Swachh Bharat programme. There’s a moment when he seems to have won his battle, but writers Siddharth-Garima and director Shree Narayan Singh are not going to let off of their mission so easily. They throw in corruption, a belated women’s movement, further plot twists and the hyperbolic declaration that “The government will fall over a toilet” before finally bringing the earnest and preachy narrative to a welcome halt.

In between, they even sneak in a plug for the prime minister and demonetisation. What’s next? Aadhaar: Ek Prem Kahani?

Play
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017).

Perhaps only the Harold & Kumar movies have been as obsessed with bowel movement. Keshav and Jaya first meet outside a bathroom; conversations are peppered with references to digestive processes; the Hindi dictionary is raided for synonyms for toilets.

The romance between Keshav and Jaya is supposed to leaven the overall heaviness, but it has its own set of problems. Jaya is less firecracker and more damp squib. Despite claiming to be an independent-spirited and intelligent woman, she lets Keshav do all the talking, thinking and theorising. When Keshav uses her photograph for an advertising banner for his cycle company without her consent, she is outraged for precisely a few seconds. Jaya is described as a “topper”, but for all her education, she declares that “women are the worst enemies of women” and that women are to blame for relieving themselves in the open.

Since Keshav is played by Akshay Kumar, there is a lot of stake here for the character and the movie star. Both must show that they are in charge, and Kumar is up for the challenge. He turns on his charm in the romantic bits and launches into nation-saving mode in the preachy scenes. Keshav is an extension of Kumar’s character in Jolly LLB 2, but without the shading and the emotional arc.

The rest of the cast play their part in hauling the propaganda juggernaut to its destination, and none of them stick. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha pans out exactly like a public service announcement video produced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: it demands attention because of the seriousness of the subject, but makes little effort to engage its intended recipients. Packed with speeches and diatribes, debates over the scriptures, and advertising taglines masquerading as dialogue, the movie proves that overt propaganda can never be confused for entertainment.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.

Play

To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.