Review: Billu doesn't make the cut

Review: Billu doesn't make the cut

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 13 February 2009

Movie Title

Review: Billu doesn't make the cut



Star Cast

Irrfan Khan, Lara Dutta, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asrani, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav

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.

Billu special page

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

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