Sarita Tanwar[email protected]WHAT'S IT about:
The most effective stories are the ones told simply. That's what makes Priyadarshan's new film, Billu, so endearing. There's the usual gloss and the oomph factor — but when you walk out of the theatre, what lingers is the unpretentious flow of emotions. Priyadarshan weaves the film around a quiet and unassuming barber (never mind the unnecessary drama over the term) Billu (Irrfan) who lives in a small village with his wife (Lara) and two kids. Things change for him when the country's biggest superstar Sahir Khan (SRK) comes to the village for a film shooting. Billu has told his family that he and Sahir were friends. When news spreads, Billu suddenly becomes a hero and everyone starts treating him better. But there's a catch — everyone wants him to get favours done from Sahir. When Billu can't fulfill those demands, he's ostracised by the very same people. Does Billu really know Sahir? Can he find respect for himself and his family again? That's what the film is all about. WHAT'S HOT:
Priyadarshan gets a subject he's best at handling — a story set in a fictional village. Remember Virasat and Malamaal Weekly? Each significant character (the good-hearted neighbour, the wannabe lyricist, the rival barber, the school principal, the local kingpin etc) are well-sketched and stand out. Priyan adds humour to the parched life of Billu and manages to bring about a smile even in times of despair. The story is a delightful ride and Priyan brings about the contrast with sheer perfection — with a common man's disillusionment pitched against the showmanship of a movie superstar. The screenplay unfolds in the most unassuming way. The climax is the crux of the movie and also its high point — it tugs at your heart and makes you want to believe in goodness all over again. The music actually enhances the film — with the number Billu Bhayankar being an absolute riot. Cinematography by V Manikandan is clean and crisp. Among the performances, Irrfan delivers performance that raises the bar even for himself. He makes you laugh and cry; just as effortlessly. Lara Dutta is in character as the rural wife — not an easy role. Asrani keeps getting better with age; Rasika Joshi (as the principal) and Rajpal Yadav do full justice. The superstar of Billu is Shah Rukh Khan who plays a character close to real life. No one else could've done this role with as much ease. Kudos to him for paving the way for Irrfan — especially in the climax. SRK adds so much pathos in his speech at the end of the film without going overboard – delightful. WHAT'S NOT:
A bit of trimming would've made the film racier. The pace slackens midway but picks up dramatically in the climax again. WHAT'S THAT:
Lara's blouses (sexy and deep cut) and the way she has draped her sarees makes her stand out. Compared to the costumes worn by her husband and kids. WHAT TO DO
: Billu is warm, heartfelt and funny — watch it.