Bala has arrived at Pari’s room in the most Bollywood way tangibly existent – through the window – and as they sweet-talk into cinematic illusions of romance, Pari says: “Aisa lagta hai tum koi film ho. Hasate ho, bohot nice feel karate ho.” If only one could review a film during its second act and then relax to find his/her early assumptions about the feature being disappointingly true. Bala movie review — even after leaving all socio-political aspects relating to its casting and subsequent understanding of an art form as an industry aside — doesn’t push its case convincingly enough.
Bala movie review is the story of its namesake, portrayed by Ayushmann Khurrana — the actor can’t put a foot wrong really — who is suffering from premature baldness. It isn’t just lack of hair, it is the total contrast to his style and swagger as a teenager — the good old days with his long hair, flirtatious one-liners, and Shah Rukh Khan impersonations. However, it isn’t his apparent aged-maturity that grounds his ego, it is his mornings-baths-turned-hair-fall-sessions and office embarrassments.
Based in Kanpur, Bala (both the movie and the character) lives up to its specifics and gets the most common millennial trait (read: addiction) right: TikTok. He falls for a TikTok star, named Pari (Yami Gautam) — an affluent girl from Allahabad unaware of Bala’s tragedy and is another piece of Amar Kaushik’s puzzle of intentional Bollywood references in style and content.
A film based around a theme previously undiscussed in this part of world cinema chose to go the same way of storytelling as the industry’s previous family-based social dramas. One can keep changing the central theme from early balding to late pregnancy, but as long as these are the same characters with different characteristics, there is little left to anticipate for an issue that was never our own. A supporting father sharing exactly one personal scene with his son, a concerned mother who has forever looked beyond the problem, a younger sibling who is under-utilized and one grandparent (gender is irrelevant) whose voice of reason is the only sane thing about the household. Also, a friend (or two) who has nothing else to do in the world is mandatory. The repetition of this structure yields to a similar decision-making process, it’s just the specificity of the question which shifts.
While Bala refused to not bring up ‘the issue’ in every scene, it was evident the exaggeration was a cinematic tool to provide outlines for the first-person experience that Bala encountered every second of his life. It was fitting until it was obsessive and short-sighted. A change in background music can and has caused character transitions because the makers choose to do it, and so was the case with Bala. There was hardly any weight in its arguments, with Bhumi Pednekar’s Nikita providing the much needed second dimension. While it was Bala’s hair, it was Nikita’s colour. Her dark tone provided for constant taunting all her life, and symbolically so to decide what is fair and what is not — she becomes a lawyer. Her altercations with Bala movie review become the most remarkable and consequential sequences of the film.
Bala, on no day or night, is a bad movie. It is similar and strikingly so. Whether the last two sentences are exclusive of each other is where subjectivity rushes in. Amar Kaushik who announced himself with a gut-wrenching Aamir and then surprised everyone with one of the most talked-about movies of the year in Stree, has added another row to his Filmography — one that tells the least about him. Ironically, the movie, which talks about not trying to fit in societal defined conventions and notions of acceptance, doesn’t listen to itself.