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Monday, 16 February 2009

BIllu Not-So-Bhayankar

So after a lot of protests from the barbers all over the.. city?, Billu (formerly known as Billu Barber) finally came silently into the theaters. A film with the mark of Priyadarshan is based on the legendary friendship of Krishna and Sudama. For the uninitiated, a brief relation of the tale. Krishna and Sudama were classmates in their childhood and received the same education. They were also good friends. Apart from that, Sudama was greatly devoted to Krishna. Despite the common education, fate plays a game and showers extreme poverty on Sudama and the kingdom of Mathura on Krishna. After witnessing a lot of struggles and the ill state of his family, Sudama swallows his pride and decides to visit Krishna. Krishna receives him warmly and enquires of his health. Sudama being a very proud does not mention the poor state of affairs and leaves after thanking Krishna for his hospitality. All the while Krishna knows how proud his friend is and respects him for it. However, he arranges for Sudama to be well-off such that when Sudama reaches his village, he finds his ramshackled hut replaced with a well built house and his family well provided for.

So basically this is what the story of Billu is based on.

Billu (Irfan Khan, at his usual best) is a simple barber married to Bindiya (Lara Dutta, outcast village girl wearing designer backless blouses). Billu lives in a village in UP called Budbuda and is an upright barber whose barber shop is going to dumps because of his rival, Modern Hairdressers. At the other end of the world is this really popular film star, Sahir Khan (SRK, looking good) who is very modest at heart. Fate has Sahir recommend Budbuda for shooting a portion of his film. Here is where Billu's life takes off for a roller coaster ride. Why? Because, he reveals to his family that Sahir Khan was his childhood friend. Word spreads soon and no matter how much Billu denies and resists the fame as Sahir Khan's friends, he is loaded with lots of perks - free education for the children, a new modern saloon with modern amenities, ample food at home and respect amongst the neighbors. All with the condition - they all want him to introduce him to Sahir Khan. In spite of not wanting any share of Sahir Khan's fame, he is forced into it. A series of cominc incidents take place.

FInally the shooting is winding down and people realise that Billu hasn't done his part of introducing them to Sahir Khan and he along with his family is ridiculed. The school manages to convince Sahir Khan to spend some time with the village school. This is where the whole plot unravels.

The film has a feel-good quality to it and it is the same team from the Priyadarshan's camp, mainly Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav, Asrani and so on. There are a few moments that just move you to the core, such as the time when Bindiya asks Billu, "do you really know Sahir?" Just the answering look has her regretting question. And only Irfan Khan can have carry off that look. Shah Rukh Khan looks dignified in the role of a modest star. Yes, he enjoys his stardom but he also knows that he owes it to his friend. He doesn't talk more than two lines in the film except in the speech at the school, where he acknowledges his friendship to Billu.

Here Billu leaves the gathering without listening to the entire speech, just satisfied with the knowledge that "at least he remembers me." One more thing, I would like to mention here is the role of a star played here gives you a refreshing new perspective on the job of a film actor and the hard work it demands. I realised that film stars get glamour, money, fame, but the one thing an earnest actor would crave for is respect for their profession which is seemingly lacking in the very audience which claims to be crazy for them.

The music is alright, my favourite track being "Khudaya Khair". A soft song. It has a hip-hop version featuring Priyanka Chopra, "You Got Me Rockin' and Reelin'".

To end it with a question, what exactly in this film offended the barber community?

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