I am calling the two latest Bollywood releases this week the “Independence Day” special. While one movie has Akshay Kumar challenging “Shabhayata” in Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, the other takes us into the past with a love story set in the Viceroy’s House. Literally, in the viceroy’s house.
A look at the first movie and its relevance as far as India’s recent celebration of its Independence goes – 70 years into our democratic, independent status and we are still stuck with villages claiming that the toilet is not to be installed in a home where statues of God are installed. Really? Anyways, to compensate for our lack of words, Akshay Kumar has lent his voice, and the movie is already earning rave reviews. Not only has the hero of the movie challenged the lack of common sense (seriously, what else can this be? I refuse to call it tradition), but he has also raised pertinent questions regarding corruption (with context, for a change, rather than the usual “I will transform the system”).
The second movie is a blast from the past which promises a deeper look into the state of affairs during the partition. It shows that we may have attained diversity, but we are yet to traverse beyond that and move into the territory of acceptance even now.
In Toilet, we have a couple challenging the accepted norms and questioning the so far unquestioned. This is not only a question for the installation of a toilet, but a larger metaphor that seeks to question so called tradition and patriarchy. It seeks to cast a vote for independence from the obsolete values holding rural India back. In the second movie, we may actually get some sort of context as far as the partition and matters of the heart go – quite a heady combination!
So, while one movie talks about what we are unwilling to leave behind, the other one speaks of what is stopping us from moving forward. Point is – are we ready to take India to the future? Looking forward to both!