- The film is a satirical love story that fights against open defecation
- Cities like Gurugram and Varanasi are showcasing the film for free
- Film has surpassed Rs. 90 crore at the box office in first week of release
Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pedneker starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, a social satire becomes an agent of change for residents of Gurugram and Varanasi. The local authorities of both the cities have decided to screen the movie for free in order to spread the message of building toilets and going Open Defecation Free. The movie has been chosen simply because it reinstates the message of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and tries to convey to the viewers the importance of using toilets.
Currently, in India around 450 million people practice open defecation and the target is to make the country open defecation free is by 2019. Nearly 5 crore toilets have been built so far under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, but over 7 crore more toilets are needed for India to achieve the open defecation free status by 2019. But more than the number of toilets constructed, the need of the hour is bring about behavioural change among people so that they use the toilets built and adopt hygienic practices for India to achieve the goals of the Swachh movement. This behavioural change is what this film is all about and so Gurugram and Varanasi have decided to showcase the movie to the people for free.
In Gurugram, a special show has been arranged in a city multiplex – PVR Cinemas in the local MGF Metropolitan Mall at 10 a.m on August 19. It will be open for all the 221 Gram Panchyats and only a woman Panch or Sarpanch will be allowed to be accompanied by a family member or an assistant for free. Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh has especially written letters to the heads of the Panchyats and invited them to watch the screening of the movie. Mr Singh said,
Because of the efforts of people’s representatives in the district there had been a positive change in the thinking of the people regarding cleanliness, we want to improve it further, with this step we will come one step forward.
From Gurugram to Varanasi
Gurugram is not alone, the unique idea was also adopted by the city of Varanasi. A special screening of movie Toilet: Ek Prem Katha at Chhavi Mahal Cinema Hall in Varanasi was arranged by the District Administration for 1018 lady pradhans and Swatchhagrahi in order to create awareness about toilets.
Apart from the screening, a Swachh Rath (mobile van) is continuously roaming in the city showcasing the glimpses of the movie just to make people aware about the fact that having a toilet at home is important.
Varanasi’s aim is to go open defecation free by constructing around 2.8 lakh toilets by December 31, 2017. Sunil Verma, Chief Development Officer Varanasi said,
We need to make 1.83 lakh toilets by December this year in order to get ODF status, we are making 761 toilets per day. Out of 8 blocks, 4 blocks will be declared ODF by October 2. By screening the movie for free for women leaders we are at least ensuring that usage of toilets will be done. We can construct as many toilets as we want, but, if these people are not using it then we are failing in some way or the other.
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha revolves around the story of a married couple Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), who leave no stone unturned in order to get homes in their village to build toilets.
The movie has received lot of appreciation, from politicians to celebrities to the audience. Recently the movie also got a thumbs up from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it recognised the movie’s efforts in a tweet which said, open defecation = a health concern that touches nearly a billion lives @akshaykumar & @psbhumi address this global issue in @ToiletTheFilm.
— UN Environment (@UNEP) August 11, 2017
In a week’s since its release on August 11, the movie has surpassed Rs. 90 crore in the box office collections.