Amar Kaushik is the guy who made last year’s crackling horror-comedy Stree. This year he comes up with another comedy named Bala, starring the man of unusual choices, Ayushmann Khurrana. If you compare it with the standard of a Stree or a Badhaai Ho (two recent successful films of the actor and the director) Bala is indeed preachy, on your face and extremely predictable. But despite all these drawbacks, the film is an entertaining work that has that similar humor quotient Amar created in Stree.
Balmukund Shukla aka Bala is our title protagonist. In his childhood, he had abundant silky smooth hair that made him arrogant to a great extent. But Bala who is now in his mid-twenties is suffering from major hair loss and he is trying all the methods to fix this issue. The movie Bala is dealing with his marriage. How his lack of confidence to admit this “flaw” in his look causes issues in his love life and marriage is the focal point of the movie.
I haven’t seen Ujda Chaman but I have seen the Malayalam version of Ondu Motteya Katha titled Thamasha and I can confidently say that Bala has nothing to do with Ujda Chaman; which is an official remake of the Kannada film. I am yet to feel bored with Ayushmann Khurrana’s eye to find scripts that embrace human flaws, so forgive me if you are someone who feels that Ayushmann is being repetitive in terms of finding a particular kind of scripts. Recently when I saw Asuran, I knew that it was definitely not the most accomplished work of Vetri Maaran. But there was a greater purpose for that movie that made him dilute the script and reduce the subtlety. Here also I had the same feeling. Amar Kaushik and Niren Bhatt have purposefully reduced the subtlety when it comes to speaking about breaking the stereotypes of beauty. But there are areas like the court scene and the scene where Yami Gautham’s Pari talks about why her husband’s external looks matter to her, etc that works because of the explained dialogues. The only major flaw according to me in this movie was the makeup of Bhumi Pednekar. If Ayushmann Khurrana really wanted to bring change in the society he should have asked the makers to go for an actress with dusky complexion. How wonderful it would have been to see someone like Anjali Patil in the role of Latika.
Ayushmann Khurrana as Bala is extremely convincing even though his prosthetic makeup is not helping him here. He portrayed the insecurities of the young man very effectively and the dialect also helped him in grounding the character. He might be playing various characters with insecurities, but the good thing is that there is a difference he is bringing in in each of them. Yami Gautam as the bubbly and ignorant lover character who admits that her idea of beauty is flawed delivers a good performance. Bhumi Pednekar is earnest with her performance. But that horrendous makeup is always coming in the way when I am thinking about her performance. Sourabh Shukla, Seema Pahwa, Javed Jaffrey, Abhishek Bannerjee, etc are there making sure that the comedy quotient in the movie won’t have any compromise.
Like I already said in the beginning, Amar Kaushik wonderfully captures that small-town vibe and mentality into the narrative. The first half montages and humiliations are truly relatable (Yes, you guessed it right. I am also facing hair loss). The movie then takes a detour by introducing a love story. The good thing about the script is that it makes sure that every event has a direct connection with the main agenda of revealing the flaws in our idea of beauty. Yes, I do agree to the fact that some of it, like the fairness angle plugged through the character of Latika, isn’t really blending with the main plot. But it isn’t really sticking out like a sore thumb too. The visuals are fine and I enjoyed the songs within the movie (not the promotional ones).
On the whole Bala was an entertaining film for me. It had that level of preachy feel which I can forgive if there is enough fun to compensate for it. The movie ultimately asks people to embrace so-called flaws. And I also loved the fact that a second love story never really happened in the movie which could have easily ruined the intent of this film.
On the whole Bala was an entertaining film for me. It had that level of preachy feel which I can forgive if there is enough fun to compensate for it.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended