This is the story of two friends, who have their origins in a poor village. One goes away searching for greener pastures and becomes a super star in films, while the other remains in the village barely surviving as the village barber. When they meet again, everyone changes except the poor hair-cutter.
Bilas Rao Paradesi alias Billu ( Irrfan Khan) is a barber in the village surviving on his meager earnings by
maintain a hair-cutting saloon. His wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and children appear happy with the limited resources.
Then one day film fields super star Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) lands in the village to shoot for a film. Then things start happening. Sahir, in fact, was once a poor boy from this same village and has been helped by Billy in those days. They were very chummy those days. Billu even gives his gold ear rings to a pawn broker to get money which he gave to Sahir to go to Mumbai and become an actor.
The story weaves through the tender relationship between the two friends while the entire village waits to see what the rich friend will do to his poor childhood friend.
Irrfan Khan gives a brilliant performance as Billu. He has gone under the skin of the character he is playing. Surprisingly, Lara Dutta acquits herself well in a de-glamorized role. Shah Rukh Khan in his cameo is breezy and bubbly. Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone provide flashes of glam-factor.
Rajpal Yadav, Om Puri and Manoj Joshi give convincing performances. All other actors are adequate in their roles.
Billu is the Hindi remake of Malayalam film Katha Parayumbol. The original story by Shrinivasan has been slightly modified to get Hindi nativity and to add some emotional dramatic moments. Unlike the
Tamil/Telugu remake, SRK’s role has not been stretched. Priyadarshan focused on the theme of friendship and stuck to it truthfully.
Cinematography is good and the music is just about average. After Shyam Benegal’s Welcome to Sajjanpur, Priyadarshan’s Billu reflects all the nuances of life in a village and the naivity of the natives.
A passionate film about the tender, yet strong bonds of childhood friends is skillfully captured by Priyadarshan. This film Billu is worth watching for the superb performances by Irrfan Khan and Lara Datta.
The Cast and Crew
Irrfan Khan, Lara Datta, Rajpal Yadav, Om Puri, Manoj Joshi, Asrani, Mitali Mayakar, Prati Dalvi, Jagdish, Rasika Joshi, Shah Rukh Khan ( cameo), Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone (special appearances)
Story : Shrinivasan
Screenplay : Mushtaq Shiekh
Dialogues : Manisha Karde
Lyrics : Gulzar, Sayeed Quadri
Music Director : Preetam
Background Music : Sandeep Chowta
Cinematography : V MAnikandan
Editing : Arun Kumar
Producer : Gauri Khan
Banner : Red Chillies Entertainment
Director : Priyadarshan
3 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar
1 poor 2 average 3 good 4 very good 5 excellent