Indian cinema heavyweights Akshay Kumar (Airlift, Rustom), Bhumi Pednekar (Dum Laga Ke Haisha), Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham), producer Neeraj Pandey (Baby, Special 26, M.S Dhoni), were in London for the International Media Conference for ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, as anticipation for the film’s release on the 11th August truly begins to surge.
Media from around the globe descended on London, as the leading stars of the film took part in the first and official media conference and Q&A, with quirk and style – complete with model toilets and selfie boards.
Set against the backdrop of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to improve sanitation across India, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (‘Clean India Movement’), the film is a satirical and light-hearted take on open-air defecation in India, and the fundamental need to provide households across the nation with a functioning toilet. Viacom18 Motion Pictures, KriArj Entertainment and Neeraj Pandey, in association with Plan C Studios and Cape of Good Films LLP present ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’, which is directed by Shree Narayan Singh, best known for his work editing smash hits such as Baby (2015), M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) and Rustom (2016).
London hosted the first ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ international media conference which received staggering interest from the audience, which comprised of international and national journalists and reporters, with the cast members providing insights into the complex issues that the film is based on and how the film addresses this.
One memorable moment saw Akshay Kumar answer questions from what could possibly be Britain’s youngest and most eager journalist.
Speaking about the importance of the issues raised in the film at the media Conference, the film’s lead and global cinema icon Akshay Kumar said, “Last year the government made around 300,000 toilets. The problem is not about infrastructure, but that people themselves don’t want to use them, because of their mind-set; they feel the freedom lies in them defecating in the open.” Kumar added, “This is a special film for me.”
Talking about performing a scene where the lead actress Bhumi Pednekar had to enact defecation in the open, something millions of women experience daily, said, “Personally, the toughest scene that I have ever shot in my career was when I had to actually perform the scene where I was defecating in the open and I just couldn’t do it. There were hundreds of people in front of me and even though I was acting, as a girl it took such a big toll on my self-respect, I felt violated.” Speaking about the film, Pednekar said “Toilet EPK is an extremely important film for us and whenever you watch it I hope you like it.”
Speaking about the social messaging the film offers, internationally renowned actor Anupam Kher said, “This movie is an effort to make people aware that the act of open-defecation should not happen. It should be the people’s constitutional right, it should be the birth-right for a child to be able to have a toilet.”
The film’s producer Neeraj Pandey spoke about the role of filmmakers in making films with social messages, saying, “I believe that as story tellers it is imperative that we talk about issues and things that leave an impression…with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, we have tried to leave an impression and leave something for the audience to talk and think about.”
Ahead of the conference, Akshay Kumar in his inimitable, impromptu style, took his co-stars Bhumi Pedneker and Anupam Kher on a special tour of London in an iconic black cab, where Akshay Kumar gave his fans a special Facebook live show.
A range of one-to-one interviews followed the media conference with the stars addressing questions from media across the world.