560 560 Kamal Karanth

I generally read a couple of reviews before I walk into any movie. If it’s a Hindi movie, then Rajeev Masand is my go-to man. When he says 3.5 stars, it means it warrants a visit to the theatre. So he did with Bala. But for once, I wasn’t sure I deciphered his nuanced review on the plot before I walked in. Only when I came out, I realised the single most factor that was disconcerting about Bala. “The connection”!

In spite of its sincere efforts to highlight the biases in our society about skin colour, obesity and balding I struggled to Connect with Bala. For me, the script wasn’t tighter and convincing. I thought the movie got lost between making it a comedy and driving the message about the balding realities.

Bala is a bold attempt by Ayushmann Khurrana. It has its heart in the right place and makes you laugh throughout the movie. But then, you need to be a die-hard Bollywood fan and relate to its history from Amitabh Bachchan’s time till now for you to enjoy some parts of the movie.

However, Bhumi Pednekar’s appearance is off-putting, Painting her black took power away from her character. Yami Gautam fills the glamour gap in the movie. Her screen time with some Tik Tok songs gives you some momentary relief from the movie’s artificial context.

Saurabh Shukla’s character stands out as the most sincere supporting cast and maybe the only character I could connect to. The rest of the characters I thought were only increasing the artificial feeling about the movie. In a nutshell, I felt Bala was a ‘play’ being presented on screen. The drama was imposed on the viewer. I just wanted to get home as the movie wandered to its second half.

Ayushmann Khurrana generally picks good movies and, again, hats of to him for choosing this character. But the director and screenplay let his portrayal down.

I only wish I had waited for the movie’s streaming premier.