Billu BarberStar Cast: SRK, Irfan Khan, Lara Dutta and others; Director: Priyadarshan; Rating: 2 out of 5.

If Shah Rukh Khan was supposed to be the USP of the film, he should at least have been given a well-defined role in the film. If Priyadarshan thought Irrfan’s realistic acting would kill the glam quotient, he should have improvised to incorporate the item numbers with better skill, rather than making them pop out of the mundane flick like accidental channel-change to some music video clipping!

For the storyline, refer the South Indian flick ‘Katha Parayumpol’. But the original Malayalam version was mediocre at best, and our ‘Billu’ is both an original and honest film. It sucks where it is original, and where the sequences are snipped straight out of the Malayalam version, they are honest. These morally nice-sounding adjectives, unfortunately, can’t undo the blandness that you might feel as an aftertaste.

The movie is about Bilas Rao Pardesi aka Billu (Irrfan Khan), a smalltime barber in a village. Life for Billu, his wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and two kids is bitter-sweet. But things take a turn when superstar Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) comes to the village to shoot his next film.

Irfan Khan as BarberBillu has been Sahir Khan’s classmate in his childhood days. When the village comes to know of this fact, their outlook towards Billu changes and overnight he becomes the most significant person instead of the outdated out-of-bussiness barber that he was. The cause is the villagers’ curiosity to get a glimpse of the star, Sahir Khan. But Billu is too hesitant to approach Sahir due to the vast difference in their social status.

While Irrfan Khan is given the onus to act, Shah Rukh uses the attempt as a testimonial to himself. The curvaceous profiles of Deepika, Priyanka and Kareena are supposed to make up for the flatness of the plotline.

Priyadarshan, who basically specialises in comedies, shows no sensitivity in handling the film-inside-film setting. Nor is the format entertainingly-exploited like in Shah Rukh’s own ‘Om Shanti Om’. All that the Bollywood backdrop does is make way for some superfluous item numbers or formulaic action sequences, disjointed from the core plot.

SRK and DeepikaWhile you are wondering how far you can stretch your imagination to find a thing of interest in the bland pictures moving before you, some glitches glare out and your efforts at getting duly entertained at your money’s worth become even more difficult. Mrs Billu, or Bindiya (Lara Dutta) is always decked up with eyeliners and lip-gloss though there’s no food for the family. The scenes shot in Sahir’s futuristic film hardly need a village setting. It’s never explained how the villagers know of Billu and Sahir’s friendship when Billu never makes it public. And perhaps the term barber and hajam sound offensive only when sung, since they are muted in songs but oddly retained in dialogues.

Irrfan Khan, though he gives what he is supposed to give, looks too repetitive for want of definition or originality in the character. Rajpal Yadav, Om Puri and Asrani are so common in a Priyadarshan film that it becomes difficult to differentiate their present roles from their earlier works. And there is no fun in seeing Shah Rukh be himself after paying the big-screen charges when he can be seen promoting his films on the small screen free of cost!

We could count two yawns – oops – cheers till the movie’s end.

Source: Spice Zee

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