Bala: Strong performances and light-hearted narrative do the needful

Rating: 3.5/5 | Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Yami Gautam, Saurabh Shukla and others.

  • Bala: Strong performances and light-hearted narrative do the needful
  • Bala: Strong performances and light-hearted narrative do the needful

If filmmakers today can rely on one actor to play any role, male or female-centric, then one of the first choices is Ayushmann Khurrana. The year 2019 has been quite successful for him and after being the ‘Dream Girl’ for many, he is back this time with and as Bala. Produced by Maddock films, the film addresses issues relating to discrimination eventually leading to rejection and insult in today’s time.

Based in Lucknow, Bala is a story about Balmukund Shukla (Ayushmann Khurrana), a 25-year-old marketing professional, who in his childhood loved flaunting his hair, but as he grew old, unfortunately only those memories remained as he lost a lot of his hair. He has only few people who know him and support him outside his family. Ajju (Abhishek Banerjee), Mausi (Seema Pahwa), Bachchan bhaiya (Javed Jaffery) and Latika Trivedi (Bhumi Pednekar). This brings him a lot of embarrassment from self and others who he spends time with. He lives his life with low confidence and cautious attitude, until he is gifted a wig by his father (Saurabh Shukla). Luck favours his side, and he gets a chance to work on a new project in his professional life - a chance to work with his dream girl, tik tok star and influencer, Pari Sharma (Yami Gautam). Soon, they fall in love, and decide to get married. But would Bala be able to confess the truth, and would she still love him? What would happen to the friendship he shares with Latika, who he mocks due to her dark complexion? The series of events thereafter answer these questions and address the most fundamental issues our society deals with, even today!

The best part about this film are the performers. Every actor has delivered their role with phenomenal confidence and that adds to the experience. Directed by Amar Kaushik, the first half of Bala is strong. It is packed with powerful lines, hilarious sequences and a light-hearted screenplay. The entire first half makes you laugh, and time sails through. The chemistry Bala and Pari share is adorable. It has the small-town charm and innocence which you would come across in every day life. Their obsession with Bollywood, Tik Tok, attention, and the affection shines through their work and the videos on social media. Ayushmann succeeds in creating  strikingly different chemistry with every character and moulds himself as Bala to the best possibility. 

The second half however brings the excitement down. Though the funny elements are maintained, the story becomes repetitive. Although predictable, the narrative does come across a tad bit weak and may hamper the mood. Performances however remain as strong as the first half. Bhumi Pednekar shines once again in the film as lawyer Latika Trivedi. She is in her comfort and delivers strong dialogues with the right attitude as a girl with dark complexion. Seema Pahwa deserves a special mention as her role of a mausi, although short, is strong and loveable. Her experience and power of knowing the art, makes her standout in a rather large ensemble.

Amar Kaushik's direction takes you through the lanes of Lucknow. Niren Bhatt's writing is sharp and there are many dialogues which are strong and would impress you. Music by Sachin-Jigar is mediocre as the songs don't remain with you after the film. 

To sum it up, Bala is strong on subject and performances, and these aspects make the film highly entertaining. Despite having a strong and well known message, the film makes you laugh and has been made on a light-hearted tone deliberately - the formula which works. For the ones with loose hair follicles and a bald head, this story would serve as the lotion to your wounds. 

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