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All Movie Reviews/Movie Talk: Billu (Beep) (Page 6)

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 7:23am | IP Logged
B.O. update: 'Billu' starts slow, but actual test on Sat./Sun.

The much-awaited BILLU opened to a tepid response of 25% to 35% at various screens across the nation. However, the silver lining is that the film is enjoying positive reports and the next two days [Saturday and Sunday] will be crucial. Most exhibitors aren't surprised with the slow start, since it was evident from the promotion that the story revolves around Irrfan and that it wasn't the conventional SRK film, like OM SHANTI OM.

The other two releases, THE STONEMAN MURDERS and JUGAAD, have also opened with dull collections.

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 7:31am | IP Logged
Billu Takes A Poor Start

Saturday 14th February 2008 13.00 IST

Billu opened to a poor first day response of around 40-45%. The evening shows had collections of around 60% which is below the mark. The reports are mixed and the film may find it tough going at the box office.

Billu Grosses 3.50 Crore On Day One

Friday 13th February 2009 14.00 IST
Boxofficeindia.Com Trade Network

Billu grossed a poor 3.50 crore nett on day one. All circuits recorded business below the mark. Business on Saturday and Sunday should be better but unless there is a huge pick up the film seems to be heading for 12-13 crore weekend business.

The producers have made huge profits by selling the rights for the film but it looks very hard for distributors to recover their costs.

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 8:31am | IP Logged
Subhash K. Jha speaks about Billu

By Subhash K. Jha, February 14, 2009 - 11:25 IST

Let's be clear on one thing. Billu is not the film that you wanted it to be. A bitter-sweet portrait of the chequered and troubled star-fan relationship, it falls short of expectations mainly because the prolific Priyadarshan fills up the spaces occupying the star Shah Rukh and the commoner Irrfan Khan's tale with a hefty load of humbug.

The village where the star descends to shoot his latest potboiler with three smoldering item girls in tow (couldn't the unit have shot with Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra far away from the madding crowd in the city studios?) looks too chaotic to be real.

Priyadarshan saturates the filmy village with his characteristically caricatural actors who have been filling up his villages from the time he made the memorable Viraasat. Mohan Joshi (broad and brilliant as a boorish politician trying to act impudently nonchalant before the superstar), Om Puri (cracking one of the most vulgar jokes ever heard in mainstream cinema) Rasika Joshi, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav…you've seen them all doing their rustic satire for Priyan before. They've been there, done it all before.

You wish Priyan had brought in a fresh cast to bolster the film's fresh look and texture. For all said (and how much they talk!) and done (the narrative is kept crisp) Billu is by far the director's most sensitive and gentle work since Kala Pani and Viraasat….and that holds true in spite of the film's extravagant excesses, like the three scorching item songs put into the film to counter the rural characters and ambience with dollops of urbane octane. The garnishing revs up the proceedings but slackens the subliminal sensitivity by over-punctuating the narrative.

What works is the star-fan relationship. From the outside the hyper-excitement of a village as it goes into top gear for a star's visit may appear exaggerated. Priyan plants a train of sequences showing the star in interaction with a star-struck mass of hysterical fans.

For sure the film wouldn't work without Shah Rukh Khan who brings a sense of autobiographical opulence to the star's part. He plays the besieged icon like a child let loose in a toy store. Don't look for the lonely superstar pining for true love over here. This guy enjoys his popularity.

The sensitivity is saved as the end-game when at a school function in the village Shah Rukh/Saahir Khan breaks down talking about his childhood friend Billu.

This is where the crux of the film begins. The two actors at the core of the conflict play their parts with such empathy you forgive and forget the excesses in the earlier parts of the narrative where the star-fan relationship was converted into a melee of caricatural encounters signifying that space between fame and anonymity can only be filled with farce.

Not true! The truth of this film when it emerges at the end is exhilarating and cathartic. The performances by the two actors carry the film. Shah Rukh Khan extends his real-life iconic status to a role that requires double his usual acting skills because it's autobiographical. He rocks.

But the film belongs to Irrfan Khan. As Billu he is a portrait of restrained self mockery and dignity in the face of bizarre demands on him by star-struck villagers. And that includes his wife and children.

Lara Dutta with her mannequin- like body language and over- made-up face sticks out like a sore thumb. She belongs to another film.

mellisai IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 08 June 2007
Posts: 10310

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 10:15am | IP Logged

Billu Barber Review - Triumph of Mediocrity

Friends, Indians, desis around the world, lend us your ears:

There's absolutely no reason to see this piece of crap a.k.a. Billu Barber unless money is burning a hole in your pocket, time hangs too heavily on your hands or you come in your pants at the mere mention of Shahrukh Khan's name (like the people in the Budbuda village in which this movie is set).

That trash like Billu Barber continues to be made and, worse, released in theatres around the word is a testament to the incredible mediocrity and utter shamelessness pervading Bollywood today.

Silly Exercise
Directed by a clueless dodo called Priyadarshan, Billu Barber is a silly movie with a cast of buffoons (with the sole exception of Irrfan Khan) making monkeys of themselves and the audience.

The movie centers around the arrival of a superstar Sahir Khan (who else, Shahrukh Khan) on a film shoot to Budbuda village, where a poor barber Billu (Irrfan Khan) is struggling to make ends meet.

Billu, who was the object of ridicule in the village, quickly becomes the pet of everyone once the villagers know that in his younger days he was a close friend of the superstar Sahir Khan.

How the villagers' expectations of meeting the superstar Sahir Khan causes chaos in Billu's life forms the gist of this must-miss movie.

Having seen Kuselan, the Tamil predecessor of Billu Barber, we went in with low expectations.

Shahrukh Khan, Priyadarshan, Farah Khan et al have done their utmost to deliver a crapshow that was far worse than we'd feared. By the way, a version of Billu Barber was first made in Malayalam as Kadha Parayumbol (2007).

Mediocre Acting
In Billu Barber, Shahrukh Khan delivers a mediocre performance unworthy of a superstar who has acted in over five dozen movies. In some movie-within-the-movie scenes, he has a tired look on his face.

Whether in the movie-within-the-movie or in the main movie itself (such as in crucial scenes like the speech at the school or the final meeting with Billu), Shahrukh Khan comes across as no more than a tyro. What a shame.

As for Lara Dutta, who plays Billu's wife Bindiya, the young lady is completely foreign to the notion of acting. And since when does an Indian village barber's wife go around wearing a mostly-backless choli.

Ridiculous. Well, if we were to count the ridiculous elements in this junk we'd never get this review completed.

Of the other girls (Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra) who make brief appearances in the movie via song/dances, Deepika Padukone is easily the worst.

Performing the most graceless dance while shaking her pelvis and wearing a skimpy attire, Deepika defines ugly in the song Love Mera Hit. Kareena comes a close second in the Marjani song/dance.

Like their seniors, the two kids who play Billu's children are horrible beyond words in the acting department.

Two Clowns
As if one clown was not bad enough, in Billu Barber we have two clowns making idiots of themselves and the audience.

Pray, what is the rationale of introducing talented actors like Om Puri and Rajpal Yadav and making them tromp around like chimps in heat.

Irrfan Khan Dazzles
The sole saving grace of Billu Barber is Irrfan Khan, one of the classiest actors in India today.

Whether in the opening scene seeking a loan from a corrupt officer, on the phone with the superstar's secretary, when the school teachers come home, when Daamchand and his henchmen take the hairdressing paraphernelia back and many, many more scenes, Irrfan Khan repeatedly delights.

Surely, Irrfan Khan is one of the very few in Bollywood to know the meaning of acting.

Absolutely mediocre.

Eminently forgetable, none of the song-dances have any merit. Nothing more than the usual crap we've seen in a gazillion Bollywood movies before (and for sure we'll see it in a gazillion Bollywood movies in future).

As for the dancing, all we can say is that if chimps were let out of their cages they'd teach these Deepikas, Shahrukhs, Kareenas and the choreographer Farah Khan a lesson or two.

Defining Mediocrity
First-time directors like Gla Babluani and Mira Nair make fine movies like 13 Tzameti and Salaam Bombay while clowns like Priyadarshan who have made over 30 movies churn out mediocre films like Billu Barber.

Maybe, it's time we sent the Priyadarshans of Bollywood to act as gofers (chaiwallahs) on Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle's movie sets. Perhaps, then these bozos will learn a few tricks from people who know the craft of making movies.

Folks, Billu Barber is an escapable punishment and an avoidable calamity for the paying audience. Unworthy of your precious time or valuable money, hesitate not one moment to give this wretched movie a miss.

simi rocks Goldie
simi rocks
simi rocks

Joined: 12 August 2007
Posts: 1494

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 10:30am | IP Logged
its a movie everyone has to watch i watched billuu barberr i loved itttt
-koiza- IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 14 June 2005
Posts: 13612

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 1:15pm | IP Logged
i liked da movie..i mean its not that bad as some reviews have called it...
irfan was jst awesome in his words to describe his acting..lara is a weak actress though but she surprises every1 in the movie..not great but certainly shez very adorable in the movie..srk is also awesome as always..
now coming to the three item songs which i was very curious abt...i think kareena made the greatest impact..
after watching the promos i was very eager to watch priyanka's song as she looked the hottest according to me but i was extremely disappointed wid the fact that priyanka was only given half a song ..her song was hardly of a minute...n it wasnt complete..i know it was difficult to make a situation for every song but still wid a huge star status priyanka deserved a complete song like the other two...
coming to deepika ..i found her dancing excellent but the camera was focusing too much on her assets n that gave a vulgur look to her...
in short i think billu is a movie which is not perfect but is a good time pass...
Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 2:14pm | IP Logged

Shah Rukh Khan shines in a tailor-made role, but wasn't this barely engaging drama supposed to be Irrfan Khan's story?

FEB 15, 2009 - PRIYADARSHAN'S BILLU IS AN UPDATE OF THE LEGEND of Krishna and the self-effacing Sudama. It reshapes the story of God and His long-ago friend into one about a movie god and his long-ago friend. I just wished that, along the way, it had taken a few pointers from that story about a movie goddess and her long-ago friend from the same village. I refer to Anil Mehta's inexplicably underrated Aaja Nachle, where the dazzling Madhuri Dixit returned to her hometown after years, and the timorous local played by Ranvir Shorey stayed away from her because they no longer had anything in common. This was simply a subplot, but it was so poignant, so resonant, that it cast a shadow over the rest of the film, like a drop of dye that insistently percolated through to the rest of the fabric.

I admit that poignancy and resonance aren't characteristics you'd usually look for in a Priyadarshan film. The utterly unexpected riches of Kanchivaram notwithstanding, this is a director whose default mode, at least in Hindi cinema, is to play his stories at a pitch that can be heard on the far side of the moon. (I haven't seen his Malayalam movies, where I've heard he can be quite different. And while in confession mode, I haven't watched either Kadha Parayumbol or Kuselan, the Malayalam original and the Tamil remake of this story. Billu, therefore, comes to me with no previous memories or associations.) But everything in this film is so aggressively in-your-face, I found myself missing the sensibilities of someone more sensitive – someone like Anil Mehta, or going back further, Hrishikesh Mukherjee or Basu Chatterji.

Those older masters of middle-of-the-road cinema would have teased characters out of the stiff caricatures we have here. Those directors would have trained a keen, empathetic eye on the milieu that's mere art decoration here. (Only once does the set acquire some semblance of lived-in personality, in the opening credits, when we see Wilkinson stainless steel blades neatly snapped in half at a barber shop.) And even if they recognised the necessity, in the present day, for star-studded item numbers, they would have put a finer spin on the emotional aspects involving the non-stars – for instance, the effects on Billu (Irrfan Khan) of the clannishness of small-town folks when they first ignore this barber, then put him on a pedestal because of his assumed proximity to megastar Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), and finally vilify him when they suspect he's no closer to the star than they are.

All of this should be ripe material for heartrending drama, but there's very little in Billu that makes you feel anything. All Priyadarshan uses his (typically overflowing) cast for is to set up the most obvious situations this story demands. Billu lives in the sort of heartland where phrases like "apne munh miya mithoo" are freely flung about – when was the last time you heard this in a Hindi film? – and the name of his competitor's establishment ("Modern Madan saloon") is the very definition of small-town hucksterism. So when a film unit arrives to shoot a Sahir Khan starrer, and a flunkey marches up to the local grocer and asks if he stocks asparagus and jalapenos and red peppers, the stage seems set for charming culture-clash shenanigans, revolving around Bollywood and the parts of India that no longer find representation in Bollywood films.

But Priyadarshan isn't interested in any of this – and this wouldn't be such a problem if what he's interested in was interesting to us, or if he'd at least made us invest in the characters. Lara Dutta, who plays Billu's wife, is so glamorously presented, it's hard to feel sorry for what is supposedly her advanced state of deprivation. (Can't we find better use for this vibrantly sexy actress than these parts where, draped in dull saris, she enquires of her husband, "Gehun nahin laye?") There are a few amusing stretches, like the one where an untalented local is presented a role in the film that's being shot, but the generally dull Billu is primarily an opportunity to observe, up close, two vastly different styles of performers and performances.

On one side, there's the quietly spectacular Irrfan Khan, who internalises everything. When the local school board insists that he fetch his buddy, Sahir Khan, for a jubilee celebration, he doesn't say a word; the beads of sweat trickling down his forehead tell us all we need to know. And later, when even his wife questions his affiliation with Sahir Khan, his understated reaction is a beauty to behold. He recedes so far into his reticent character, he all but disappears in front of the camera – unlike the charismatic Shah Rukh, who inhabits the space in front of the camera with the casual entitlement of royalty. He appears to be playing himself, and he's so effectively larger-than-life, especially towards the closing portions, you forget you're watching a drama about the travails of a bashful barber. As you exit the theatre, you feel you've witnessed an expos on what it entails to be a smashing superstar.

Copyright 2009 The New Sunday Express. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Zareena IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 07 August 2008
Posts: 25384

Posted: 14 February 2009 at 2:15pm | IP Logged

Billu Barber is an Irfan Khan movie in the jacket of a Shah Rukh Khan movie - and thus facing the expectations of a Shah Rukh Khan movie. The left side of that hyphen above means that it is Shah Rukh Khan trying to carry an Irfan Khan movie, and the right side means that it is Irfan Khan trying to carry a Shah Rukh movie. Neither is good news, mostly because it is movie that needs carrying.

The story of Kuchela/Sudama in the Bhagavatha Purana is 1 chapter. You could possibly make a whole movie out of it, but you'd last find audiences for it in 1980, when people were still devout and patient and did not have a thousand other entertainment options, many coming with remotes. Billu Barber, a modern-day version, is painted richly with Shah Rukh Khan, but when the fans who dutifully land up open the gift-wrapping, there's more to appreciate than enjoy. And that's not what Shah Rukh Khan fans are trained to do.

Billu Barber is a 1-hour movie stretched into 2 hours. The moral of that sentence is that it should be the other way round. And they stretch it so much, they don't have space left for the ending. So the one thing you await all through, looks like it got there just to formally declare the movie over. Like we at always say, directors should never skip the full and proper ending of a movie. They should leave that to the audiences.

Everybody knows the story, at least in this part of the country. Billu (Irfan Khan) is a poor and soft-spoken barber in a small village with wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and 2 kids. Once a unit shooting a film featuring the country's biggest movie hero, Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), sets up camp in the village for a schedule. The village is going berserk at its first exposure to the superstar and to movie-shooting, and word soon spreads among the folks that Sahir Khan was Billu's bosom buddy of their childhood days.

Mostly scorned for his poverty, Billu soon finds himself voraciously serenaded by all and sundry in the village who see him as their ticket to access Khan. Billu himself wants to avoid Khan as he is plagued by feelings of both inadequacy and apprehensiveness that Khan might see him as a gold-digger. However, the pressure on him from the entire village and his own family is over-powering, and he finally decides to approach Khan.

The problem with Billu Barber is that it's a vegetable sandwich packaged as a chicken burger, with the result that even people who might have enjoyed it as a vegetable sandwich will now carp about how it's hardly a chicken burger. Unfortunately, it's no great vegetable sandwich either. The movie ambles through its duration, and there's no scenery by the wayside to keep you interested either. Shah Rukh Khan feels more like a commercial break every now and then than an integral part of the movie.

Irfan Khan, an acclaimed actor, cannot bring his usual flair to the role of Billu - though that may not be of his own doing. You almost get bored every time Billu is on screen, thanks to the lack of nuances and expressions on Irfan Khan's face (indeed, he seems to have just one expression all through the movie). Lara Dutta is lively, and SRK is his usual energetic self. The speech at the end, that Rajnikanth had all of us moved with in the Telugu version, has SRK at his best, too, but unfortunately, too much of your focus goes on to his nicotine-stained teeth.

The movie suffers most in the ultimate payoff - the reunion of the friends. There's hardly anything there, and when the ending happens, you know it mostly because the credits are starting to roll rather than because the story has ended logically. That apart, there's a little too much poverty courting the lead character, and that's not very appetizing either for those of us who go to the movies to escape.

Billu Barber is mostly for SRK fans who'll pay even to watch an ad featuring him. Which, actually, this movie is, if you can read between the lines.

Performances : 7.0
Script : 2.5
Music/Soundtrack : 6.5
Visuals : 8.0

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