Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Irrfan Khan, Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav, Asrani
A BARBER has a superstar as a friend. But the superstar does not know that his childhood buddy is in dire straits financially.This is the gist of the movie, which has been made in several languages since the original Katha Parayumbol (2007) came out in Malayalam and won actor Sreenivasan the best scriptwriter award in Kerala state.
Mammootty was the superstar in the movie.
It came out as Kathanayuku in Telugu and Kuselan in Tamil, with Rajnikanth as the superstar and Pasupathy as the barber.
In Billu, Shah Rukh Khan is the superstar and Ifshan Khan (who was recently seen as the police officer in Slumdog Millionaire) is the barber.
Kuselan was not the success it was expected to be. Billu (shortened from Billu Barber after hairstylists objected to being called barbers), meanwhile, has had only average reception at the box-office so far.
Malayalam-Hindi-Tamil movie director Priyadarshan has avoided all the pitfalls that director P. Vasu encountered while making Kuselan by giving equal prominence to both Shah Rukh and Ifshan.
In Kuselan, Rajnikanth only seems to be making a cameo appearance. In Billu, Shah Rukh’s presence is felt throughout the movie.
Not only that, Priyadarshan has also roped in four of the hottest Hindi heroines of our time: Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor. You will not recognise Lara here. She plays the barber’s wife, who’s also the mother of two small children. What a transformation from her glamorous roles, but she plays it well.
The other three heroines appear in dance scenes that the superstar is shooting in the barber’s village. Irrfan shines as the poor guy who is caught in the middle when the superstar drops by the village. The tight security around the actor prevents him from coming into contact with the former. Once the news leaks that the poor barber is the superstar’s childhood friend, everyone hounds the barber in hopes of meeting the superstar.
Such is the fascination and hold that cinema and the stars have on the people, especially in the rural areas. That’s why India has become the largest producer of films in the world.
Music is scored by Pritam Singh, with the infectious Billu Bhayankar standing out. As usual, Manikandan handles the cameras superbly.
There is plenty of humour throughout the movie and a little touch of pathos. But Priyadarshan has definitely made Billu an enjoyable movie. Even after watching Kuselan, Billu is still a joy to catch at the cinema.
The New Straits Times
By : K.N. Vijiyan
Khamis, Mac 05, 2009