Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (A Love Story) is the world’s first feature film to highlight the topic of open defecation in India.
It is released in cinemas worldwide today - and it’s showing at Cineworld in Milton Keynes.
The film is based on the true life story of Keshav (Akshay Kumar) and Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar), whose new marriage is challenged by lack of a toilet!
Given the subject matter of the film and its ambition to raise awareness of the open defecation crisis in India and in particular its impact on women’s safety, the film has received huge international attention.
In the UK, the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have all highlighted the terrible sanitary conditions in India. The problems are considerable:
Of the 1.7 million people around the world who die from poor sanitary conditions and unsafe water annually, over 600,000 of them live in India;
Shockingly, more than 50% of rape cases which take place in India, happen when women defecate in the open. Poor sanitation is estimated to cost the Indian economy more than $106 billion a year.
Thanks to the Clean India Movement however, progress has been made:
To date around 3,88,49,539 toilets have been built as part of the initiative
Since the initiative began in 2014, the number of Indians access to proper sanitation has risen from 42 percent to 63 percent;
The number of Indian villages that have been declared free of open defecation has risen from 8 percent in 2015 to more than 30 percent.
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