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All Movie Reviews/Movie Talk: Billu (Beep) (Page 2)

dizzyonlemonade IF-Rockerz

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Posted: 12 February 2009 at 8:55pm | IP Logged

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Antlers IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 01 September 2007
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Posted: 12 February 2009 at 9:01pm | IP Logged
i have already said I will never ever spend a dime on indian films... until they give me some good films..
...M... IF-Sizzlerz

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Posted: 12 February 2009 at 10:05pm | IP Logged

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Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 12 February 2009 at 10:30pm | IP Logged
Review: Billu doesn't make the cut-

Sonia Chopra

Somewhere between the way-too-many songs, you may catch snatches of the story. Billu's premise is inspired by the tale we all love – the one about Lord Krishna and his poverty-stricken friend Sudama, where Lord Krishna embraces him despite the glaring gap between their worlds.
Here, in a nondescript village, Billu (Irrfan Khan) runs a barber shop that isn't doing too well. His shop is compared to Nirupa Roy, while other shops, villagers joke, are decked up like Rakhi Sawant.

Snap to a song on a spaceship with Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone .We learn that the song is part of a film shoot, that Khan is playing a superstar called Sahir, and that the story is about separated twin brothers. The director explains the concept to Khan ( this scene, a terrible attempt at comedy), that he has hit upon an original and unique device to unite the twins and wrap up the film –a locket.

He also titles the film 'Aasma Ka Farishta Aur Khoon Ka Rishta', but you don't snigger at this dialogue because it is said so vapidly. The director mentions a part of this film must be shot in a village and Khan randomly suggests this one. Soon enough, the assistants reach there to clear the area for shooting with the annoying smugness that film crews automatically imbibe. The village people enthusiastically welcome the film star and crew and some enterprising folk make new businesses like Sahir Khan T-shirts and haircuts.

The village has a few key characters: there's Om Puri's self-important moneylender, Rajpal's Yadav's hopelessly untalented poet, a competitor with golden flecks to the hair etc.

Billu's family is a content one with a wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and two kids. When he hears that Khan is shooting in the village, Billu freezes. He murmurs something about being friends with the superstar much earlier, and his family goes into frenzy. The village learns about it sooner than later thanks to his family's bragging —his children's school fees are waived off, he is gifted new furniture, all for varied Khan-related favours.

Billu is now in a quandary as he is sure that Khan will not recollect their special friendship, and hence wants to avoid meeting him, while the village is pressurizing him to do exactly that.

The central plot sounds fair enough, but the execution is below par. The characterization is shallow, and we don't really connect or feel with the characters. The idiom–heavy dialogue (vintage Priyadarshan) makes sure the characters talk unnaturally at every turn. Lines like 'dar ki billi ko hath mein leke baithe ho'; or when a villager wonders how Billu can make them meet superstar Khan, another answers -'jaise hukka dhuan se, aur sharaab sapne se'.

The film digresses big-time when another superstar 'Abhay Kumar's' name is mentioned and when Khan rues that no one offers him songs like 'Pappu can't dance'. He also lectures a nut about how the film industry is like a large family and sometimes skirmishes do happen (reply to an over-curious fellow asking about fights within the film fraternity, especially between the Khans).

The film's art direction is praiseworthy. For a film on cutting (even if hair), there's hardly any editing present. Scenes go on and on with repetitive dialogue and response, and no one remembers the audience. One of the most unbearable scenes was that of Khan's guesthouse landlord doing an inspector role and messing up his two lines. We have to endure his several takes and retakes till, like Khan in the movie, you too are holding your head. Songs are about average.

The cast does well. Irrfan is remarkably restrained as usual. Lara is a pleasant departure from her glam roles. SRK drips charm in every shot. And still, the film doesn't affect you.

Priyadarshan as a director is astonishingly variable – he makes great films like Virasat, Hera Pheri, Bhool Bhulaiya and recently Kanjeevaram. And then he makes ones like Mere Baap Pehle Aap, Bhagam Bhag and now this one. We hope his film the next time around falls in the former category. Touch

Verdict: Two stars

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 12 February 2009 at 10:33pm | IP Logged
Movie Review: Billu

Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin Bhoolenge

Rating: 3.5/5

Let me be honest when I walked in to see Billu, I had next to no expectations. I thought the movie would be terrible because I somehow don't have a taste for Priyadarshan films. And till the first half was complete all my fears were coming true. But then came the second half and blew me away – and I mean that in a good way!

Shah Rukh Khan plays Sahir Khan the superstar. He is an extension of SRK in today's Bollywood. He has the screaming fans, shining Bentley, huge bodyguards and hit films. On the other hand in a small village is Irrfan Khan who is finding it difficult to make ends meet as a barber. His kids are close to being thrown out from school, he has no food at home and the newly opened salon opposite his in the market square is putting a further dent in his earnings.

For the filming of his movie Sahir Khan comes to Billu's village to shoot his movie. Billu who has always told his kids that he and Sahir are friends is now faced with the impossible task of getting through the numerous guards and get his kids to meet the favourite superstar of the country. The kids squeal to their friends that their father, Billu, and Sahir are best mates. Soon enough Billu is the star of the village with everyone being extra nice to him because he knows Khan and will help them get that meeting with the superstar who is visiting. One of them is the committee of his kids' school who want Billu to get Sahir for their golden jubilee celebration as the chief guest. For days Billu tries to dodge the villagers saying that before Sahir goes back, Billu will get his kids, is wife, the village money lender, the resident poet and every one else meet the big star.

However with just two days to go, the villagers are up in arms for not having met Khan as promised by Billu. They file a police complaint for fraud and cause a lot of damage in his salon.

On the other hand the school principal manages to convince Sahir Khan to come to the school for just some time to inspire the kids. He agrees and makes it to the function. And it is that event that Sahir tells the school children about his school days and his best friend Billu. And what he shares about Billu in those last twenty minutes will make this film an enjoyable one.

In terms of acting, the only way one can describe Irrfan Khan is understated brilliance. He is so innocent in his acting and the easy with which he shares the screen space with the King Khan makes you wonder about his talent. Shah Rukh Khan pulls off the superstar role well but for me the last 20 minutes are something that I want on constant repeat. However, having said that the one song in the first half where it almost seems like he is giving an ode to himself by featuring clips from his various films did seem a bit cheesy. You lose points there Mr. Khan.

Lara Dutta tries hard to pull off the village belle but leaves you disappointed. Israni and Rajpal Yadav are wasted. Om Puri comes at intervals and manages to make you smile.

In terms of direction Priyadarshan has done a good job. This is not his usual comic caper but his work behind the camera is faultless.

All in all Billu makes for a clean simple watch. It doesn't have the thrills or spills that you see in today's Bollywood. Go watch it just to warm your heart if nothing else! It will make you appreciate the people in your lives and that's not a bad thing…

Harshita Kohli, Hill Road Media
Friday, February 13, 2009

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 12 February 2009 at 10:35pm | IP Logged
Billu Barber Review

February 12th, 2009

Rating: *** - Touches your heart.

Billu is a story of a down to earth village barber, Billu (Irfaan Khan). A man of principles, he is not willing to give up his values come what may even if it means his children are thrown out of the school or his earnings taking a beating. While his wife (Lara) understands him and stands by him during his tough times, his children forever make fun of him. As Billu is struggling making two ends meet, a film unit visits his village to shoot a movie and with the unit comes superstar Sahir Khan (SRK) Billu's childhood buddy. When the news comes out about Billu's childhood connection with Sahir Khan, the villagers make a U-Turn in their behaviour towards Billu. He suddenly starts getting respect from one and all. But at the same time everyone starts coaxing him to meet the superstar, all for their own benefits. But then whenever Billu tries, he fails in his many attempts thanks to Sahir's Z category security. With this the villagers start getting more restless and an already in trouble Billu has to face their additional wrath. What it all leads to forms rest of the film.

Based on Malayalam super hit Katha Parayumbol starring Mammootty, Billu's basic story premise is based on the legendary Krishna-Sudama friendship story. But full marks to Priyadarshan for adapting it well to a present day North Indian village setting. The maker who has always been more associated with mindless comedies shows he knows his job well when handling a serious subject as well. Priyan has handled his huge lot of characters very well and brought out humour from the most unexpected situations. He is technically brilliant as usual but where he scores the most, is in lending a soul to the film. There isn't a single dry eye in the cinema hall during the climax scene between Irrfan and SRK and also during SRK's public speech scene. Priyan has packed in the emotions extremely well. Where he falters is the pacing. A better editing was desperately needed. Though the second half is where the actual story unfolds, it appears very lengthy and the item songs added, end up testing your patience. Pritam's music appears better on screen with songs being innovatively picturised, especially the SRK-Deepika's Love Mera Hit number.

Talking about the performances, Billu is more of an Irrfan Khan film than a King Khan one. He is simply superb and natural to the core. Shah Rukh is good as always but proves with the climax scene why he deserves to be called a superstar. Lara Dutta despite having a glam doll image has perfectly suited the part of a village woman with two kids. Apart from them, the film is full of Priyadarshan film regulars – Rajpal Yadav, Asrani, Manoj Joshi and Rasika Joshi and they don't disappoint either. Om Puri as the greedy sweet talking money lender is fun to watch. Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone add glam quotient by featuring in three item songs of sorts.

Don't go in expecting a full on SRK flick and you won't come out disappointed. Billu has a good story to tell and is the kind of a film that brings a tear in your eye and at the same time a smile on your lips as you come out of the hall.


Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 12 February 2009 at 10:43pm | IP Logged
Indian Express review

Once upon an ancient time, an exemplary friendship illumined our land : the tales of Lord Krishna and his childhood pal Sudama, perhaps apocryphal, perhaps mythical, still continue to regale and delight us.

Monster Malyalam hit 'Katha Parayumpol' becomes 'Billu' on its way to the Hindi heartland via Priyadarshan. In the re-make, Irrfan plays the barber who shared tiffin with superstar Sahir Khan, when they were carefree school-children. Now all grown up, Billu is still dirt poor, living with wife and two kids in a spartan hut, and Sahir is the 'badshah' of Bollywood.

The film, geared towards the climactic point of the two opposite poles meeting, is supposed to thrive on the tensions built by the director, in the lives of Billu and Sahir. But except for a couple of sequences which hit the emotional spot, Priyadarshan's latest is devoid of the essential drama that would have made 'Billu' a memorable film.

Can you put a high-octane performer like SRK and a fabulous actor like Irrfan in one film and draw a near-blank? Priyan has done exactly that by abandoning his usual exuberance, which makes his films such loud, take-you-out-of-yourself experiences. Here he goes uncharacteristically sedate, and keeps everything so toned down that almost nothing lifts off the screen.

Too much time is spent getting Billu and Sahir to meet, and the interim passes slowly. Irrfan is wonderful, but is surrounded by a lot of dead wood : except for Asrani, the rest of the bit parts never go beyond their lines. Or are just plain uninteresting. How many times can you see a mustachioed Om Puri (playing a greedy money-lender) drive up to Billu's little shop in the middle of a village chowk (note to the film-makers : sets will always be sets, and never the real thing: a UP village will never have a round circle dotted with subziwalas, naiees (barbers), and other bric-a-brac, it's always intersecting galis), and yell at him?

And Lara as a village belle may not be as much a stretch as the one she was in 'Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost', but only a tad: her flawlessly cut low-back cholis are a fashion statement you won't find in villages.

SRK, playing a character as close to himself as you wouldn't notice (and you're not supposed to) charges up the scene everytime he comes on, saying something pithy. Which happens too seldom, because he's too busy boosting the film with item numbers with Kareena, Priyanka and Deepika. Happily, he does reserve some lovely lines for himself: "I'm the only movie star who has more men than women around me".

He's saying that apropos of the macho security men who surround him, but ha ha, read between the lines. He also uses the film to launch broadsides at people who say nasty things about the Khans and Bollywood rivalries, and pompous types who do not respect actors : not for nothing is he the smartest of them all.

Watch it for Irrfan who gets every shade in, from self-respect to bafflement to misery, in his portrayal of a poor man who's got too much pride to remember himself to a friend who's gone so far ahead of him in life's sweepstakes. And for SRK playing SRK. Just don't pay too much attention to the film.
Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 12 February 2009 at 11:43pm | IP Logged
February 13, 2009 11:55:02 AM IST
By Martin D'Souza, Bollywood Trade News Network

You can snip off the 'barber' from Billu, but you cannot take off Billu from Barber. In other words, you can get Irrfan Khan to alienate himself from his persona, but you cannot get the actor to get away from his character! His act is complete. And his Billu is a believable character, who could be you.

Irrfan fascinates in his portrayal of a struggling family man with a wife and two kids, with no knowledge of where is next income will come from. His barber's shop in a village in Gudgude is doing bad business, he has no clients left and even his barbers chair can give way any moment. His acerbic tongue, peppered with humour (the joke life has played on him is evident here) does not leave him with many friends and he is constantly requesting the school principal for more time to pay off his children's school fees. Even his children take off after him, where giving a repartee is concerned. BILLU takes it all in good humour and continues his struggle while adding some laugh to his measly existence. His wife (Lara Dutta) is a perfect foil to his character. No one understands Billu better than her.

Then, one fine day, the village is in a tizzy. Shahir Khan (Shahrukh Khan), the reigning superstar of Bollywood, has chosen this very village for his next film's shooting. Suddenly there is news of him being Billu's friend. The whole village takes a U-turn. The Principal comes to his home to give him the good news that his children's education will now be funded from the school Trust and all he has to do is to get Shahir Khan to their school function. Billu's dilemma has just begun. There are hordes of other such requests, which Billu cannot deny and he portrays it brilliantly with his eyes and body language.

So, does Billu really know Shahir Khan? This is the suspense that Priyadarshan builds up. And as a viewer, you are impatient to know the truth as well. Billu does not help matters, with him not forthcoming with any information. Even when his wife asks him whether he really knows the superstar all he says with a wry smile is, ''What difference does it make.'' You wonder then what BILLU is all about.

Priyadarshan has veered slightly away from his trademark comedy and he handles the subject with sensitivity. Yes, there is his humour, where one scene in particular has you in splits, where the hotel manager requests Shahir for a bit role in the film. On the whole, he juxtaposes the lives of two contrasting characters to make for an inspiring climax.

All Shahrukh Khan has to do is play himself. It comes off effortlessly. In one scene, where one of the school trustees tries to get too familiar, he puts him in place in his own inimitable way. He also refers to the ''Khan fights,'' as something that happens in any family and ''this film industry is one big family.'' His speech to the schoolchildren is inspiring; full marks to the scriptwriter. Here is when he tells the kids of this being the best years of their life. Here is when he reminisces of the best years of his life and of the time when he had nothing and how a friend helped him out. Sharing his tiffin in school, because he never had food, inspiring him and regaling him with impersonations of film stars, thus igniting in him a desire to reach for the stars; giving him a hair cut sneaking into his father's saloon and even selling off his earrings and giving him the money to go to the city to pursue his dreams. That was the last he saw of BILLU.

Billu who is at the venue with his wife is teary-eyed. His wife looks back with such pride that their whole relationship is captured in one freezing moment. Never once had he mentioned what relationship he shared with the superstar. Shahir comes home to meet his Billu. The reunion is poignant. Both the Khans elevate the scene with their power-packed emotional performance.

While Irrfan is outstanding, SRK lends his class and appeal to the script. Lara Dutta is a revelation. She blends well into Billu's life. Irfan's kids played by Pratik Dalvi and Mitali Mayekar are first rate. The rest of the cast combine well with their support. What's surprising is that Priyadarshan has got the usually 'over the top' Rasika Joshi (the school principal) to give a restrained performance.

The director has got the mood and feel of the film spot on. This movie has soul and it will move you.

Rating - 4/5

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