Within a span of one month, two films – one each in India and Pakistan – have released with the commode as central theme. Akshay Kumarâ€™s Toilet â€“ Ek Prem KathaÂ talks about the importance of sanitation, whereasÂ Na Maloom Afraad 2 tackles a commode made of gold in the literal sense. However, do the two have anything in common beyond the use of a potty as pivot? We analyse.
Starring the Khiladi hero and Bhumi Pednekar, Toilet â€“ Ek Prem Katha is quite simple in its narrative. We all need sanitation as a basic human necessity and where it isnâ€™t present, it can be a huge marital issue as well. Clearly, in the visceral sense, no one would like to walk miles into the woods to defecate, but for a huge chunk of the Subcontinentsâ€™ women, itâ€™s an unimaginable reality.
However, in the Nabeel Qureshi directorial, NMA 2, things take a unique turn in regards to one special toilet, the Sheikh’s gold commode to be exact. Revolving around Sheikh Baklavaâ€™s priceless pooping accessory, the story is filled to the brim with twists and turns and the toilet in fact comes as satire on social disparity.
Although itâ€™s slightly unfair to compare the two films in their importance and contribution to their respective film industry, itâ€™s quite clear which one of the two manages to open up the floors to a discussion. After all, how many of us do feel that the problem of sanitation may exist in India but here, itâ€™s all good. Believing that, would truly be being unaware of the reality of life.
In short, the problem doesnâ€™t really lie in the narrative nor the directors or even the actors, but actually, the audience itself. Are we as a nation ready to see films based on our harsh realities or will we once again â€“ like we did withÂ Bol, Khuda Ke Liye, Manto or any of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentaries â€“ call social commentaries â€˜art filmsâ€™? We all know the answer to that.
Also read:Â Haute Review: Toilet â€“ Ek Prem Katha
As an industry getting back on its feet, Pakistan’s film industry needs to find a balance between responsible and entertaining filmmaking. Na Maloom Afraad (the franchise) may not be a Prem Katha but it is a very solid start to films that convey important messages while entertaining the crowds.
Note: Other films revolving around potty humour (so to speak) are Piku, Delhi Belly and the likes of Captain Underpants.