Billu Actually Bhayankar
I did not have much expectations from this movie. Reason being the kind of fare that Priyadarshan has been dishing out in the last couple of years – Chup Chup Ke, Dhol, Bhagam Bhaag, Mere Baap Pehle Aap. The problem with this could-have-been-maestro (remember Muskurahat, Saza-E-Kala Paani, Gardish, Virasat) is that post Hera Pheri, he’s got so much stuck in the comedy mould that even in a movie demanding serious treatment, you see usual suspects like Asrani, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav et al indulging in physical comedy. Mind you, we all just loved this kind of comedy in Hera Pheri & Hungama. But soon, we got tired. And Priyan Sir too. And, whenever his serious attempts like Kyun Ki & Mere Baap Pehle Aap tanked, he chose to play safe and reverted back to comedy, though without much success. And his movies based in villages (Virasat, Hulchul, Malamaal Weekly, Bhool Bhulaiya and now Billu) just lack the authenticity needed coz you see almost all men wearing shining white dhoti-kurtas, as if sponsored by Rin, Tide, Surf Excel, Ariel all put together. The language is also a problem. You have each character speaking in that many different accents. Some, in north Indian, some in South Indian, some with a Marathi hangover. And then Mr. Priyan can’t stop whining when Slumdog Millionaire receives accolades from all quarters.
But the little expectation that I had was from the banner Red Chillies. After delivering an entertaining Blockbuster in Om Shanti Om, one would have expected SRK to go all hog in ensuring that the follow up would be equally engaging if not entertaining fare. But alas!! That was not to be. I suppose SRK must have thought that signing Priyadarshan was enough for him to ensure a hit. And the lack of effort shows here.
I think everybody knows the story by now, so I will desist from treading in that territory. The problem here is the treatment. Utterly lame done-to-death jokes. I usually say “Aise jokes toh main k.g. class mein bolta tha”, but my wife has coined a new term “Prenatal Jokes” i.e. “Aise ghise-pite jokes toh bachcha apni maa ke pet mein hi rehkar sun chuka hota hai”. And I fully agree. (as if I have a choice!!!!) The screenplay was so loose that you hardly felt the helplessness and pain of Irrfan, the angst of the villagers, the disappointment of the kids and also the strength of friendship. The main reason for the last point here could be that (and this is very important) even though SRK plays the character of filmstar Sahir Khan, we still are bombarded with posters and scenes of SRK films ranging from Pardes, Josh to Main Hoon Naa, Om Shanti Om. Now, come on, we all know very that these are all SRK films. Then how can we pretend that these films are done by some Sahir Khan. So the character of Sahir Khan just doesn’t register in our minds. Then how can we believe in his friendship with a barber.
And what was the need for the director to shoot in a village. Because if you notice, the fight sequence (a la star wars) and Mar Jaani song were both shot on sets, with the village elements nowhere in sight. So does Priyadarshan want us to believe that instead of the comfort of putting up a set in Mumbai, the film crew went all out to a remote village and transported all the stuff and set up their set there. Tch Tch. So much for recession.
And a very prominent continuity lapse – in one scene in Irrfan’s hut, the calendar shows the month of April 2008. In a later scene, in the school meeting, there is exam timetable for the month of November 2007 written on the blackboard. SO MR. PRIYADARSHAN, STOP “FILMING” AND START “DIRECTING” MOIVES
And didn’t SRK have the guts to convince the protesting hairdressers that BARBER word is not derogatory. Coz it was really ridiculous watching the word muted completely in the song as well as the scenes throughout the movie. Why be politically correct at the cost of being faithful to the script. Take a stand man!!