Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is ready for release on August 11 and it is quite under pressure to break the jinx of flops this year. The film has all the right ingredients for it to do good business and create an impact on the society. On Thursday, we had a chat with the film’s director Shree Narayan Singh. In this interview, he opened up about how nervous he was before the film hitting theaters, Akshay Kumar’s stardom and all the plagiarism allegations.
What is the feeling before the film’s release? How did you decide on making this film?
I am very nervous, rest you can understand. I am happy, and I am nervous! I started my career as a director. I directed a TV serial called Parampara.
There is a message in my film, there is something we are trying to tell, and if I tell that how many people will hear me out? I needed someone who’s voice is being heard. Someone who has the power of owning this space. Someone who can create an impact. Akshay Kumar brings all of that for you, but of course, he is a great actor, without which he wouldn’t be a part of my film.
Akshay Kumar is called the poster-boy of patriotism. Was that the thought behind you casting him for the film?
Not at all! When we cast an actor, we only think about how well an actor can portray the character in our story. Only if we are satisfied do we think about which actor brings how many eyeballs, and how impactful his role will be. Akshay Kumar is a fine human before an actor and a star. He is fantastic. I was an associate director for Special 26 and we built a rapport on sets. We were quite comfortable. Since we were so comfortable, I was quite nervous directing him, but he is very down to earth. He never made me feel that I was working with a star. He has done everything I asked him to do.
The film’s already buzzing much before the release. Did you expect this kind of impact?
I knew the film will bring about an impact, but so much impact even before the release, I had not expected. We knew that the film has the potential to make people aware of the importance of a toilet, but such a nation-wide impact was not expected. However, I don’t really know how people will receive the film. I hope people like it, but I don’t really know as of now. I just hope ‘meri izzat bach jaaye’ (my films saves my reputation.)
What about the plagiarism allegations levelled against you?
We were a soft target since our film was about to release, and because we have a big star. People tried to gain publicity out of such controversies in our name. We registered our script in 2014, and we have the association’s copy also. We also announced our film on July 2, 2015. Someone published a book in April this year and went on alleging that we copied from their book. Also about Vyas’ short film, how can I humanly make a full fledged feature film from a 20 minute short film? However, all these things happened in 2016, and my script was registered in 2014. So there is no question of plagiarism.