Rajeev Masand’s Review of Bala

Ayushmann Khurrana, who’s cornered the market in relation to enjoying flawed, insecure males with confidence points, continues his successful streak with Bala. This time he’s enjoying a younger man coping with untimely balding, and the movie makes use of that premise to make a case towards judging folks on the idea of bodily look.

Ayushmann is Kanpur resident Balmukund Shukla aka Bala, thus named for his thick, lustrous hair at delivery. In college his wavy tresses ensured his recognition with the women; he even mocked his bald trainer in school. But karma seems to have caught up with Bala who, at 25, is dropping hair each day, and rising an increasing number of determined. There’s no potential treatment he gained’t attempt; no ‘nuska’ he gained’t give a shot…together with oils and eggs, and a combination of cow dung and bull semen. When the whole lot else fails, he reluctantly goes with a wig. Director Amar Kaushik mines these moments for large laughs, however Ayushmann conveys Bala’s vulnerability with heartbreaking precision. Even as you snicker, you possibly can’t assist feeling for him.

This is, in reality, the most important energy of Niren Bhatt’s successful screenplay, which provides us eventualities and moments which can be each entertaining and genuine.
Amar Kaushik, who final directed Stree, completely captures the sights and sounds, and rhythms and feels of Tier II cities: the accents, the household banter, the informal moments between buddies, the obsession with Bollywood. In one of many funniest bits within the movie, the three of them simply hanging out casually, Javed Jaffrey and Abhishek Banerjee enjoying Bala’s two finest buddies, break into Amitabh Bachchan imitations. Terrific stuff.

The different masterstroke is Yami Gautam’s character Pari, a Tik Tok star and someday mannequin from Lucknow who briefly enters Bala’s romantic orbit. Yami performs her as a ditzy however at all times likeable determine, and will get two of the very best moments within the movie – one wherein she learns Bala’s reality and responds with comprehensible shock and horror, and one other wherein she explains candidly why seems to be matter a lot to her and why she will be able to’t resign herself to Bala’s ‘shortcoming’.

But the issue is that the filmmakers aren’t content material giving us merely one case research to make the bigger level about our prejudice in the direction of folks based mostly on their bodily look. So they bung within the character of Bala’s dark-skinned childhood pal Latika (Bhumi Pednekar), who’s grown up mocked and bullied due to her complexion, which is hampering her marriage prospects now. You can’t inform if it’s a case of sheer ignorance or comfort that the makers equate the agony of balding for males with the expertise of being a dark-skinned lady in India – nevertheless properly which means the parallel could also be, it’s simply not the identical.

The determination to forged a lighter-skinned Bhumi over an actress with the required complexion reeks of hypocrisy, and discredits the movie’s very message. And the choice to virtually lather Bhumi in darkish face and physique make up is misguided and utterly distracting. It’s a disgrace as a result of she’s a really proficient actress, and he or she turns Latika right into a assured, spirited character. In reality, I want there was extra of Latika woven organically into the plot, just because Bhumi performs her with such vim. Latika’s scenes with Bala profit from the consolation and the benefit that Ayushmann and Bhumi clearly share, presumably from having made two movies collectively earlier than. Unfortunately Latika exists solely to drive house the message.

That, for me, is the movie’s solely black spot (pun unintended). For essentially the most half Bala crackles with sharp dialogues, Ayushmann’s successful mimicry of Bollywood stars, particularly Shah Rukh Khan, and naturally the charming ensemble that features Saurabh Shukla, a moustache-sporting Seema Pahwa, Dheerendra Kumar Gautam as Bala’s youthful brother, and once more, Abhishek Banerjee and Javed Jaffrey as his finest buddies.

Supported very ably by his two main girls, Ayushmann Khurrana cuts a sympathetic determine as one other not-instantly-likeable loser. Watch how he tears into his father for passing down the baldness gene. Never understating the troubling blackface of Bhumi’s character, the reality is that the movie is persistently pleasing. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of 5 for Bala.

Rating: 3.5 / 5