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Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 20 February 2009 at 1:42pm | IP Logged
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Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:33pm | IP Logged
Billu

Saturday 14th February 2009 15.00 IST
Rony D'Costa

If you saw SRK giving advice to Farhan on friends and stardom in Luck By Chance, in Billu you will see him stretching this idea to a 2 hour film.

The first thing that strikes you about Billu is the cinematography by V. Manikandan. Every frame is so painstakingly lit that it just blows your mind. The screenplay stretches the story to its limit. The actual substance comes into play in the last few reels. One scene stands out and makes you laugh out loud so that you will come out of the theatre thinking of the guy who plays the guest house manager.

The screenplay has its share of Priyan's stock characters and over the top performances. It spends too much screen time to come to the point. What starts of as a light hearted comedy turns into a drama by the end of the film. Throughout the film Billu is in trouble but you will be laughing at him and what is happening around him. It is comedy in Billu's tragedy. Shah Rukh is comfortable playing the over exaggerated persona of the real Srk. Sometimes the lines between reality and fiction are blurred through his comment on Aamir & Salman. Lara Dutta tries hard to fit into the village belle character but she is way too glamorous to look the part.

Finally it is Irrfan Khan's understated portrayal of Billu which really stands out in terms of performance. He is fantastic in the emotional scenes. The Music is not in tune with the film. Except Khudaya Khair & Billu Bhyankar none of the songs help the proceedings of the narrative. Sandeep Chowta's background score supports the film without being overbearing. Priyadarshan's direction is in control after a long time. The last time he worked with a Khan it turned into a disaster this time though he is on solid ground.

Final few words: If you are going looking for SRK, Priyanka, Kareena & Deepika in the film please do remember that as the title suggests it is an Irrfan Khan film. One of the decent Priyadarshan film's in recent times. The last few minutes are the best part about the film.

**1/2( Above Average )
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Edited by Zareena - 21 February 2009 at 4:36pm

Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:37pm | IP Logged
Komal Nahta reviews Billu

Red Chillies Entertainment's Billu (formerly titled Billu Barber) is the story of friendship. Billu (Irrfan Khan) is a barber in Budbuda village, who lives with his wife, Bindiya (Lara Dutta), and two school-going kids, Gunja (Mitali Mayakar) and Duggu (Pratik Dalvi). Since he can barely make two ends meet, he takes each day as it comes. His life changes when a film unit comes to the village to shoot. Superstar Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) is the hero of the film being shot at Budbuda.

Somehow, word spreads that Billu and Sahir were childhood friends. Eager to be photographed with the superstar and rub shoulders with him, the villagers suddenly start behaving extra-sweetly with Billu. The moneylender (Om Puri) gifts him a new chair and provisions for his hair-cutting saloon. Even the ladies of the village are kind towards Bindiya, all in the hope that her husband would prove to be their ticket to meet the superstar. The principal (Rasika Joshi) of the school in which Billu's children study, asks Billu to get Sahir Khan to the school and, in return, proposes waiver of fees of the two kids.

Pressurised by his wife, children and the villagers, the shy and simple Billu tries to get in touch with Sahir but fails because the superstar's staff never lets him meet the actor. The villagers, agitated after waiting for so long, conclude that Billu and his wife had lied about their closeness to Sahir and they now turn their ire on Billu who bears the humiliation silently. On the last day of shooting, Sahir Khan visits the village school to address the children. In his emotional speech, the actor makes a mention of his childhood days of poverty, his childhood friend, Billu, and of how he (Billu) had helped him to realise his dream of becoming an actor.

The film has a very simple story and its narrative style is also simple. While the first half is an assemblage of incidents, it is in the second half that the drama picks up as Billu tries hard to connect with Sahir Khan. Srinivasan's story, inspired by the Malayalam film, Kadha Parayumbol, and the Tamil film, Kuselan, is basically the story of Krishna and Sudama. Screenplay writers Priyadarshan and Mushtaq Shiekh have injected the drama with humour but it is not a laugh riot. Therefore, while the jokes do evoke laughter at places, the comedy is not hilarious or constant. Among the comic incidents which bring the house down with laughter is the scene of the lodge manager (Atul Parchure) repeatedly getting his lines wrong in front of the camera and the one in which the moneylender threatens to show a taunting co-villager the ninth wonder of the world.

The pre-climax and climax of the film are emotional and would draw tears from the eyes of the weak-hearted. However, like the comedy, which does not prompt the viewer to guffaw often, even the emotional track does not lead him to cry buckets. In a way, everything is subdued. Also, the entire track of Sahir Khan shooting in the village looks like an appendage to the main story as interaction between the villagers and the film unit is not interesting enough.

The screenplay writers have failed to juxtapose the two stories – of Billu and of Sahir Khan – meaningfully and interestingly. Billu silently walking away from the school when his friend, Sahir Khan, is talking about him, and even his children returning home doesn't look convincing. Of course, all that is done so that Sahir Khan (Krishna) can visit the home of his impoverished friend, Billu (Sudama), but again, the writers could've done a far better job of it. Overall, while the story is good, the screenplay could have been more interesting, entertaining and emotional.

Irrfan Khan plays Billu extremely well. He gets into the skin of the barber's character and does full justice to the role. Lara Dutta plays his better half beautifully. Shah Rukh Khan shines in a special appearance. In particular, he is splendid in the pre-climax and climax and in the scene in which he ticks off the school manager. Om Puri is in top form. Manoj Joshi does a truly fine job of the irritating school manager. Asrani leaves a mark. Rajpal Yadav is cute. Rasika Joshi is okay. Atul Parchure gives a fantastic account of himself. Master Pratik Dalvi and baby Mitali Mayakar lend very good support. Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone provide plenty of glamour in song-dances with Shah Rukh. Jagdish and the others in the cast are efficient.

Priyadarshan's direction is good but he should've taken more care to weave the two stories more efficiently, not just at the script level but also in the narrative style. Manisha Korde's comic dialogues are a major asset of the film. Pritam's music comprises popular songs but the music is not super-hit. 'Love mera hit hit', 'Marjaani' and 'Khudaya khair' are the appealing songs. Song picturisations (Farah Khan, Pony Verma and Prasanna) are stylish and rich but similar to each other. Sandeep Chowta's background score is effective. V. Manikandan's cinematography is very nice.

On the whole, Billu has fair merits but they are not commensurate with the price it has been sold for to distributors. Further, given its dull start at many places, distributors would stand to lose a good part of their investments. No doubt, the film's collections will pick up due to positive word of mouth, but that won't be enough.

Released on 13-2-'09 at Eros, New Excelsior, New Empire (daily 1 show), Liberty (daily 1 show), Maratha Mandir and 100 other cinemas of Bombay thru Eros International Media Pvt. Ltd. Publicity: very good. Opening: dull. …….Also released all over. Opening was quite weak almost everywhere. A spurt in collections was noticed as the day progressed.
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Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:42pm | IP Logged
Bolly Spice Review 3/5

The most anticipated movie of the month, Billu, has released at last alongside all the expectations and all the excitement. Does the Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit Kadha Parayumbol (2007) live up to the expectations or does it fail to create an impression? Read on…

Even though the film has been in the news mostly for the title change in the last minute, the movie states the title as Billu Barber. Behind a series of slapstick comedies, Priyadarshan seems to have decided to try different kinds of genres. He opted for thriller for the first time in Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007) and the film became a smash hit. This time, Priyadarshan opts for an emotional drama with a pinch of comedy. And unsurprisingly, the 61-film-old director does not disappoint.

Billu deals with the story of a poor village barber Bilas Rao Pardesi (Irrfan Khan), his wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta), and his kids. Stuck with the job of a barber and all he can afford is his old chair, scissors and comb with barely any customers in his barber shop, life is very bitter for Billu and his family. Until one day, superstar Sahir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) arrives in the village scheduling a shoot of a film. The whole village gets cheerful on his arrival and everything changes afterwards. All the villagers change their treatment towards Billu after a rumor is spread that he is Sahir's childhood friend and they all ask him to bring the superstar over to meet them. Once he fails in his mission, everybody starts misbehaving with him. Billu thinks Sahir has forgotten him after the years - he thinks that he wouldn't remember him now that he's a rich man. But all of Billu's doubts are put to an end when Sahir talks about his past and his childhood friend, Billu, in a conference with a school. Later on, Billu and Sahir finally meet, confessing what they have down pat about their early days.

The first half of the film focuses on introducing the main characters and the scattering rumor of Billu being Sahir Khan's childhood friend. The second half shows the villagers' reaction and their treatment of Billu. Priyadarshan does an awe-inspiring job in terms of direction. Although the film tends to be a tad boring, kudos to the last 20 minutes that is the highlight of the film! Amongst the best sequences include the one where SRK argues with Manoj Joshi about the rivalry between the Khans, trying to clear out that stars are only human beings and they are misunderstood by the media.

Pritam's music is noteworthy though the three item numbers (featuring SRK with the three divas; Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor respectively) seem forced into the film only to add commercial value while the other songs are placed properly. 'Marjaani' stands out the most among the item numbers while 'You Get Me Rockin & Reeling' gets limited screen time. 'Khudaya Khair' leaves an impression capturing the magnificent locales of Pollachi.

Irrfan Khan, the scene-stealer of the film, is brilliant. Although Shahrukh Khan is given unnecessary screen-space in the first half, he is superb in the ending. Lara Dutta is competent. She shifts a step up in terms of acting, though her look isn't too convincing for a village belle. Om Puri is first-rate as the greedy money-lender. Rasika Joshi is very good as the school principal; she fits the part to the T. Mitali Mayakar and Pratik Dalvi as Billu's kids are remarkable. The supporting cast, that includes Rajpal Yadav, Asrani, Manoj Joshi and Jagdish, manage to provide a few laughs. Manoj Joshi is perfectly cast as the nosy school-manager.

Overall, Billu is a very simple and sweet movie on the subject of friendship. Although the movie is fairly predictable, it's an enjoyable watch for the family! An above average fare!

Rating : 3/5

http://www.bollyspice.com/movie-reviews.php/billu-barber-movie-review.html

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Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:44pm | IP Logged
New Int'l. Release

Billu Barber
(India)
By DEREK ELLEY

An Eros Entertainment release of a Red Chillies Entertainment production. (International sales: Eros, London.) Produced by Gauri Khan. Executive producer, Sanjiv Chawla. Directed by Priyadarshan. Associate director, Abilast Nair. Screenplay, Mushtaq Sheikh, Priyadarshan, Manisha Korde; story, P. Shrinivasan.

With: Irrfan Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Lara Dutta, Om Puri, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi, Jagdish, Rasika Joshi, Pratik Dalvi, Mitali Mayakar, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor.
(Hindi dialogue)

Bigtime Bollywood meets small-town India with quietly entertaining, finally moving results in "Billu Barber." Simple tale of friendship cleverly manages to bring together superstar Shah Rukh Khan, in full-on pin-up mode, with Irrfan Khan, who's developed into one of the industry's best character actors, in a movie that straddles both mainstream Hindi cinema and more specialty fare. Mid-February release, produced by Khan's own company, Red Chillies, won't approach the grosses of his last starrer, "Rab ne bana di jodi," but is way more engaging on an emotional level.

Bilas Rao Pardesi, aka Billu (Irrfan Khan), is a struggling barber in the small country town of Budbuda, with a young wife, Bindiya (convincingly deglammed Lara Dutta), and two kids (Mitali Mayakar, Pratik Dalvi). When Bollygod Sahir "King" Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) hits town to shoot his latest blockbuster, Billu's life is sent into a free spin as word spreads that he's an old friend of the star's.

Everyone is suddenly Billu's pal, from venal moneylender Daamchand (vet Om Puri) to the local school principal (Rasika Joshi). The downside is that Billu doesn't think Sahir Khan will remember him, and becomes embarrassed by all the attention heaped on him, even though his business now flourishes.

First half takes its time drawing the local community and contrasting it with the actor's privileged lifestyle, as he's perpetually surrounded by bodyguards and assistants in a Bollywood bubble. But the wait is worth it: Post-intermission, the two worlds start to come together, with a final half-hour that pulls a couple of surprises prior to an understated, affecting finale.

Flashy, well-staged musical numbers are inserted with no attempt to integrate them into the drama. They're simply from the film Khan is making, with a roster of Bollywood glamour: Deepika Padukone (from "Om Shanti Om"), Kareena Kapoor (in the pic's standout number, "Mar Jaani") and Priyanka Chopra. When Dutta is unexpectedly featured in one number, it ends suddenly, with her waking up as she falls from her bed.

In between, the film has some fun with the sheer fascination Bollywood exerts on the lives on ordinary rural Indians when it descends into their midst. But that never impinges on the main story, which remains firmly centered on Billu and his family.

Jack-of-all-trades helmer Priyadarshan hits a career high here, aided by striking lensing of the Pollachi locations and saturated color processing that's sharp and detailed.

Camera (color, widescreen), V. Manikanandan; editor, Arun Kumar; background music, Sandeep Chowta; song music, Pritam Chakraborty; lyrics, Gulzar, Sayeed Qadri; production designer, Sabu Cyril; costume designers, Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla, Naresh Malhotra, Anahita Shroff Adajania, V. Sai Babu; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS Digital), Raja Krishnan; visual effects producer, Keitan Yadav; visual effects, Red Chillies F/X; choreography, Farah Khan, Pony Verma, Prasanna. Reviewed at Cinestar Potsdamer Platz 4, Berlin, Feb. 17, 2009. Running time: 137 MIN. (I: 68 MIN.: II: 69 MIN

http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117939712.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:48pm | IP Logged
Film Journal Billu Barber- - Spoilers

A small Indian village gets upturned with excitement when a big Bollywood film comes to shoot, and the townsfolk think their local barber is great buddies with the star.

Feb 19, 2009
-By Frank Lovece

There is a type of movie, particular to the U.K., that I like to call "Stiff Upper Brit": A village of charming eccentrics either pulls together or seems to come apart before recovering when an important newcomer arrives, or there's an emergency or a contest at stake. The classic is Bill Forsyth's Local Hero (1983), in which an oil-company rep only thinks he's in charge of negotiations with a seaside village all too eager to sell out, and others, of course, include the likes of Waking Ned Devine (1998), Blow Dry (2001) and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1995).

The Bollywood film Billu Barber (its onscreen title in the U.S. and the U.K., after objections by the Hairdressers Associations of Mumbai resulted in the removal of "Barber" from the title in India) is one of these, and a delight it is. Irrfan Khan, the police inspector in Slumdog Millionaire, plays poor, decent, put-upon barber Bilas Rao Pardesi, a.k.a. Billu, in the fictional provincial town of Budbuda. A more modern hairstyling salon has stolen most of his business, local ne'er-do-wells hang around the entrance to his modest shop, and the local elementary school is threatening to remove his two children, daughter Gunja (Mitali Mayakar) and son Duggu (Pratik Dalvi), for lack of tuition payment. His only consolation seems to be that his wife, Bindiya, unaccountably looks like Miss Universe—which indeed co-star Lara Dutta was in 2000 before starring in a score of films.

When Bollywood superstar Sahir Khan (real-life superstar Shah Rukh Khan, playing a thinly veiled version of himself) arrives in town with a major film crew to shoot a picture in the quaint, northern India village, the sleepy town understandably goes bonkers. It gets even more crazy after Billu's kids, to whom he's said that he used to know Khan, brag about their dad's connection—feeding the local gossip chain until everyone from the local rich blowhard (Om Puri) to the local bad beatnik poet (Rajpal Yadav) all think Billu can introduce them. No matter how hard Billu tries to dissuade them, the deluded denizens won't listen. No good can come of that, and doesn't. But thank goodness for superstars with long memories. What? Did you think it wouldn't have a happy ending?

Billu Barber reaches that point with sharp pokes at self-important bureaucrats, merchants, "artistes" and others, and wry humor throughout. What makes it work, however, is that neither Billu nor his situation is played for laughs—his hardscrabble poverty isn't glossed over, and neither is his wife's longing for acceptance in the class-conscious village. And a climactic speech by Khan at a school gathering works fully well emotionally, despite a huge potential for hokiness—and incidentally provides concrete reason why real-life Khan, who's often starred in glowering action-hero roles, is a genuinely top-notch actor in addition to being a popular star.

Speaking of which, babelicious Bollywood starlets Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra appear as themselves in pretty ka-pow musical numbers from two movies-within-the-movie.

http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/reviews/specialty-releases/e3i83b3be812614cf9914f15c8b1f8ec0c9
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Zareena

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Zareena

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Posted: 21 February 2009 at 4:50pm | IP Logged
Irrfan Khan steals the show in charming film about friendship

Docky Dockrat's Bollywood Scene Published:Feb 22, 2009

Billu Barber (8/10): "It's so simple to be difficult yet so difficult to be simple" was a famous dialogue sprouted by Rajesh Khanna in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 1972 classic Bawarchi. The late Mukherjee was the master of "simplicity". If another Indian filmmaker was required to step into his shoes, Priyadarshan would get my vote. To put it plainly, he is simply taking "simplicity" to another level.

For evidence, take this engaging film about a village barber with bleak prospects who suddenly becomes popular with his neighbours after a top Bollywood star, with whom he claims to have enjoyed a childhood friendship, arrives to shoot in their locality. As the star-struck villagers go berserk, so the barber is elevated from ignominy to local celebrity.

Getting to meet the star to prove this "friendship" ends up being almost impossible as the star's minders are under strict instructions to keep the public at arm's length, and the barber is uncertain if the star remembers him and is afraid to find out. As a result, the people who previously celebrated him resort to belittling him.

It's the classic tale of a commoner reluctant to claim ties to the king as he is unsure if he will be welcomed to the palace or thrown out, and that's essentially all there is to the story, but Priyan embellishes it with a moving screenplay that delivers a heart-warming movie brimming with moments of joy, humour and tears.

Priyan's direction meanders, he takes the scenic route through the countryside rather than the highway that would have got him to his destination quicker. As with all his films, there is a stage-like quality to the proceedings, with the cast delivering their lines in an orchestrated manner.

Shahrukh Khan, though, is excused. As the producer, he is allowed to do as he likes and he relishes the freedom. This is probably the least-demanding role he has done as all he is required to do is be Baadshah Khan. SRK uses the opportunity to mock the absurdity of his superstar status and poke fun at his (though not always true) rivalries with Salman and Aamir.

Shahrukh's role is defined as "incidental", as it's mainly confined to performing songs that resemble aerobics. He does secure the movie's defining moment through a lengthy soliloquy delivered as only he can, with warmth and passion. He also includes some memorable footage from his past roles that further highlight his superstar status. His colleagues Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone prance and dance and do little else. The film's charm lies in Irrfan Khan's performance. If SRK brings glamour to this film, Irrfan instills it with heart. He carries proceedings and his presence sets this film apart. Unlike SRK, Irrfan never resorts to an "in your face" approach to be noticed, he simply gets on with it.

Although his acting is not spectacular, it's so self assured that, with seemingly little effort, he towers above the rest. He is so commanding that Lara Dutta, who has the next big role as his long-suffering but star-struck wife, plays in his shadow. The test that his ordeal places on their relationship and his relationship with his children is well captured.

Of Shahrukh's four productions for Red Chillies thus far, this one is the most uncomplicated. It may not possess the pizzazz of Om Shanti Om, the thrills of Main Hoon Naa or the supernatural riddle that was Paheli, but its heart is in the right place, and it spreads its message of friendship and loyalty in a charming manner that exudes joy and goodwill.

E-mail: dockydockrat@ gmail.com

http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdition/News/Article.aspx?id=943972

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