Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam, Bhumi Pednekar, Deepika Chikhlia, Saurabh Shukla, Seema Pahwa, Abhishek Bannerjee, Javed Jaffrey, Aparshakti Khurrana,
Director: Amar Kaushik
Rating: * * *
This Amar Kaushik helmed Bala is a witty, hugely entertaining take on a problem that has plagued men for centuries – male hereditary baldness. Bala who once, as a youngster, was a proud peacock, basking in the glory of a full head of silky, fine, hair suddenly finds himself losing it as an adult (played by Ayushmann). To compound his misery, he is entrusted with the selling of a product ‘Pretty Face’ that promises ‘fairness’ within weeks to those who desire to get rid of the dark skinned tag. And the very person whom he tormented as dark skinned and ugly looking, now a lawyer, Latika (Bhumi Pednekar), gets to go one-up on him following a fraud allegation placed on him by his TikTok star wife Pari (Yami).
The message here is to learn to live with and accept and celebrate your faults rather than use foul means to cover-up or obliterate them. This is not a preachy film though. Excellent dialogues and compact scripting by Niren Bhatt allow for a fluid, scene to scene momentum that keeps the interest high and scoring as we proceed to the well envisaged and smartly orchestrated end-play.
The film opens with blatant racist dialogue, colour bias and body shaming, but redeems itself in the fairly logical end-play which has Bala apologizing and compensating for his childhood transgressions.
Kaushik, is assured in his takes and keeps the narrative simmering… and his ace, Ayushmann Khurrana literally drives the point home with yet another heartfelt, flawless performance. Bhumi, despite that unreal charcoal makeup and Yami in full-on tik-tok mode keep the nok-jhok fluid enough to elevate the mood. This film is certainly much deeper, fine-tuned and more fruitfully entertaining than Khurrana’s earlier success ‘Dream Girl’ and deserves to be seen!