Billoo - The Review

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

With the world going ballistic over the performance of DevD, I feel a bit like an outcast speaking about the erstwhile Billoo Barber that came out as Billoo. I didn’t find too many takers for this movie either when I proposed to go for it. I now have a growing feeling that brand SRK doesn’t work the way it used to a few years back. Is it the beginning of the end for King Khan or is Billoo not qualified to be called his film? Anyways, without getting philosophical on the reasons behind the rise and the apparent fall of the uncrowned king (which unfortunately becomes the talking point with each of SRK’s release), let’s get down to discussing Billoo, the film.

Priyadarshan is an acclaimed director down south and the highest paid even in Bollywood. He makes some inane comedies that are essentially remakes or re-remakes but is still able to command respect at the box office. He gave a hit in Malamal Weekly with a non-existent star cast. This time around, he plays it safe by casting stars such as SRK, Irfan and Lara Dutta and getting guest appearances from all top notch female superstars. You name them and you have them swaying to Pritam’s foot tapping numbers in the film. Quite sadly, these expected ‘pluses’ are what make Billoo fall short of the mark. I felt that Priyadarshan’s idea of Krishna-Sudama story got mixed and mashed with commercial gimmicks and lost relevance. Amidst the hype and hoopla of item songs and SRK’s extravagant portrayal of the superstar, the theme of the story took a backseat and the effect didn’t come out as it should have.

Of all directors of repute, Priyadarshan is the only one who doesn’t know when to throw in a song in the plot. He falters this time too. If passing off south Indian village setting as a north Indian one was not enough, he decides to show the shooting of Star Wars like scenes in a small village. My question is – Why on Earth will a film crew shoot a high quality action sequence with an amazing set on an outdoor schedule in a village? Defying logic is another name for Priyadarshan’s commercial ventures so let’s just blink and give it a miss.

Despite cribbing about Priyadarshan’s sticking to the same old formula films, one cannot discount the fact that some of his films have good messages behind them. It is this fact that makes him command respect even after delivering some nonsensical stuff every now and then. Billoo too has a very nice message behind its story line that comes to the fore partially despite all other shortcomings. And the person responsible for it is not Priyadarshan but Irfan Khan. The guy is amazing in his art. He gets into the skin of the character beautifully. Just look out for him in the scene where he calls up the guest house and gets screamed at. Some people might accuse him of being repetitive but for me he is a genius. Lara Dutta looks efficient in her deglamorised part. SRK had to play himself and he ended up playing some more. Maybe there was a need to capture the aura surrounding a superstar in loud terms. This is by no stretch of imagination a SRK film. He makes a guest appearance and gives a long sermon at the end. That wasn’t his doing but someone’s got to share the blame.

Music is strictly ‘chaalu’ kind. It sounds good only while it lasts and has little recall value. Pritam is like Rajendra Kumar. He gives hits but will never be remembered for his work. The copycat tag too works against him because you never know when someone will come out telling where he picked his latest tune from. The support cast is the same as in any of Priyadarshan’s films. There is no novelty or a surprise package. Having said that, they all are good actors so they do a decent job but nothing worth mentioning.

Billoo is a film that undoubtedly has a soul even though the purpose is all lost. The oft repeated formula of Priyadarshan would prevent people from going for it. It will probably get average returns at the box office banking on the star value and a good performance by the lead protagonist Irfan Khan and also because the budget wasn't all that high. I will give it a 2.5 out of 5 and I wonder why I wrote this review.

..And would you believe it..I went to watch DevD the other day, walked upto the ticket counter and then decided against it! I don’t know why I don’t want to watch that film despite all the rave reviews.


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