Billu [Barber], 2009

Directed by: PriuadarshanSigh.

I’ve seen this movie twice now, with both viewings almost over a year apart; the first time I loved it, I gushed, I cried, I got warm fuzzies, I adored. The second time I rolled my eyes a lot.

I’m a jaded, bitter, angry adult now folks, and nothing is going to give back my youthful cheer.*

Here’s the thing, I like this movie. I think the plot, story, acting, costumes, locations, the music… everything come together to make this a beautiful, touching film but for some reason it just fell flat on me last night and I was not charmed.

I know exactly the reason why: Shah Rukh Khan.

Before I get an earful about how amazing he is and how beautiful he is and how this-and-that he is please just understand that post-Indian internship Erin cannot deal nicely with SRK. Things happened, opinions were ruined, someone was a complete DBag…etc.

Now, while I can still respect him as an actor and for his body of work, the relationship he has with the audience and the love he inspires I cannot, myself, watch something like Ae Ae O without feeling the need to emphatically roll my eyes several times.

Billu, in my opinion, should have not fussed about renaming SRK as “Sahir Khan”. If he’s going to essentially play himself with nods to Shah Rukh Khan films he might as well have spared Kinko’s the effort by not having them erase his name and change it on the posters. There are plenty of posters, and banners and movie posters and merchandise all brandished with “Sahir Khan” that would have saved considerable time, effort, money, resources by just keeping SRK SRK.

Why they chose to defer to an alias when everyone just assumes he’s playing himself anyway is unknown to me. It’s weird, really.

Not to mention that for me, personally, SRK seemed to really be dialing it in on this performance. I don’t blame him, as a character Sahir has no depth (Except at the end. Maybe.), he shows up on screen, does some dance moves, squiggles around an item-girl-cameo, waves at the adoring crowd and slithers off in an overly-embellished leather jacket.

If you’re going to dial in a role, this is the one to do it.

NOT to spend my whole post ragging on our beloved King Khan, let me just continue onwards.

This is one of the few movies I like Ms. Dutt in, and I think she does a great job of being an impoverished, star-struck Maa. There was something so rustic and relaxed about her that I typically don’t see. Maybe it’s a director, maybe it’s the role, maybe it’s magic. Who can tell, and who is going to listen to me try to explain it? No one.

Irrfan Khan is an actor I’ve always loved. He’s so brooding, so serene…. he brings a nice dejection to Billu’s character that really helped me to relate to him on screen. He’s humble, he’s dirty, he’s quiet, he’s withdrawn. Wah. He’s wonderful.

While I have my qualms with the film, and may not be as awe-struck as I was the first time ’round I won’t deny that the soundtrack is brilliant in its diversity of styles; ranging from ballad to rock to folksy to hip-hop**; neither will I rob the production of praise for its cleanliness, style and overall beauty.

Sigh. Again.

*Excuses
**or rather my totally wrong, Opera student perception of “hip-hop”

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3 thoughts on “Billu [Barber], 2009

  1. I watched the film a month ago, and it was the first – like you, I didn't like Shahrukhs appearance. He's one of my favorite actors in the world, but lately I think he hasn't been to clever with his role choices. He doesn't need those mini-roles, they're embarrassing, because obviously he only does it to attract the audience, without giving them what they want in the end (at least speaking for myself).

  2. I have only seen this film once, a long time ago, and I found it incredibly boring. I've never understood why some people love it so much, but then people don't understand some of the crap I adore so I guess me and them are even.It's funny, your timing – I had a conversation with my flattie last night about SRK and about how his public persona isn't necessarily HOW HE IS (flatmate was like "YOUR BLOG IS NAMED AFTER HIM, HOW COME YOU DON'T SEEM TO ACTUALLY LOVE HIM?" – I was like, "Because I DON'T actually adore any star to the point that I think they are flawless, perfect idols, that would be…foolish") and your internship came up!Anyway. I agree re: Lara Dutta. I think she's one of the good things in this film. But MEH is my overwhelming memory of the whole thing.

  3. Limette: While I think SRK tends to make good and progressive choices most of the time, it is upsetting that he sells himself short as often as he does. Bringing people to the theatre isn't the only thing that matters, content does too.Ness: I think the idolization of stars is creepy. I don't care about who they date, their kids, what they say in an interview because IT DOESN'T MATTER! Just put them on film and let me see their work. Besides, all celebrities are short and weird looking in real life. Le sigh. High five.

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