Keshav meets Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), a vivacious, strong-headed, independent girl in town. She’s smart, sassy and mouthy- knows what to say and when. Despite their initial fracas, they eventually fall in love, through a series of songs, and decide to marry. The catch: she doesn’t have two thumbs. So they hatch a plan, create a fake thumb to appease Keshav’s father, and ultimately marry.
The shock for the new brides comes the morning after her wedding when she realizes the house has no toilet! She’s been coerced to go to the open fields with the other women. Jaya feels totally insulted and degraded. Hence starts the fights between her and Keshav. “I cannot stay in this house if there is no toilet. Either you get a toilet or I divorce,” says Jaya. It hits me that while we have the luxurious privilege of using a toilet in the comfort of our homes, there are people out there who according to their religious texts, cannot have a toilet in their homes.
The main crux of the movie then becomes all about Keshav winning the girl’s heart back by trying to fix the toilet issue in his house, despite strong resistance from his superstitious father. His quick, short-term solutions don’t appeal to Jaya, and so she leaves him finally, ultimately seeking a divorce.
Now comes the somewhat funny part of the movie. Keshav with his friend approach the media and the high up in the government sector to install toilets in their village. It turns out, according to the government ministers, that the state has done its job of installing toilets, but it’s the people who are not accepting the initiative taken by the government. So suddenly, it’s the fault of the people and not the government.
Does Keshav succeed in getting the toilet made in his home, and his village? Do Keshav and Jaya go through the divorce that’s been publicised now? Does Keshav’s father give in or fights on to maintain his religious beliefs? For that, you should see the movie.
So what do I think about it?
First off, I was rather taken aback by the notion that a strict segment of the Brahmin caste don’t believe a toilet should be at home. Women should go out to the fields. However, this made me question a lot about what the men do? Where do they go? Where do they shower? What do pregnant women do? What do women, who are on their periods do? What about sick men and women? There were so many questions running through my head it made me question the authenticity of this idea that no toilet should be made at home.
Secondly, the second half of the movie felt like as if it was sponsored by the Indian government. Look at how much work we are doing, says the government. It felt like sheer manipulation on the part of the movie makers to influence the Indian public. Yes, there is a wonderful public service message about the importance of having toilets, but it felt slightly diverted from the movie. Apparently, Mr. Modi was very happy with the movie!