Go-getter Keshay serenades liberal-thinker Jaya, a woman from his neighboring village in Uttar Pradesh. Keshay comes from a traditional family, but is able to convince his father (with a very funny solution) to allow him to propose to her. They marry, but once the newlyweds pass the threshold, Jaya discovers that Keshay does not have a toilet in his home. Keshay, who submits to cultural norms, suggests that his new bride can just defecate outside when the time comes. This then becomes the grounds for Jaya to file for a divorce. Fearing he could lose her forever, Keshay desperately sets out on a mission to win back his love by standing up to the age-old traditions and values of India.
A unique concept for a film, especially a Bollywood romantic comedy, TOILET: EK PREM KATHA (or TOILET: A LOVE STORY) is quite revolutionary — a love story striking a balance between popcorn entertainment and social commentary. Director Shree Narayan Singh navigates the story as a tug-of-war between status quo gender roles, apathetic government officials, and rural villagers who see toilets as more of a nuisance. It is astonishing that 58% of India’s 1.3 billion population do not have access to toilets or comparable waste management systems.
A social satire that also promotes the Indian government’s current campaigns to improve sanitary conditions, especially in rural areas, TOILET is a mirror of changing cultural tides in sanitation, which is a deeper process in promoting women’s rights as a whole. TOILET raises a stink for a worthy cause and does it well through a Bollywood lens.
— Anderson Le
Synopsis written by: Anderson Le