Bollywood's Under-Appreciated: Billu Barber

Miss R. , 19 Jul 2011
Billu Barber
Billu Barber

Hi Miss Malini Peeps!

Billu Barber has to be my one of my favourite Shah Rukh Khan movies, I enjoyed it much more than K3G, KKHH, and DTPH (those movies had awfully long titles too!) I just loved this movie, it was cute, sweet and funny. I don’t know why it wasn’t more successful (critically and commercially) in India. It was actually more well received in the west, by Hollywood film reviewers, gaining positive reviews from well-respected publications like Variety and Film Journal International, and even American Bollywood bloggers such as Beth Loves Bollywood and Filmigirl.

The film was a remake of the Tamil Kuselan, starring the one and only RAJNI (I’m sorry, but RAJNIKANTH is so epic, his name must be capitalized at all times!) which itself was a remake of the Malayalam Kadha Parayumbol, based upon the tale of Sudama and Krishna. It’s rather unique for a Shah Rukh Khan film, in that it actually takes place in India (not London/New York City) and that the director is  Priyadarshan (not Karan Johar or Yash Chopra), making it a comedy, as opposed to a fluffy romance.

Irrfan Khan and Rajpal Yadav
Irrfan Khan and Rajpal Yadav

This film, even though produced by Shah Rukh Khan, it belongs to Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Khan was coming off the steam of Slumdog Millionaire, and made a name for himself in Hollywood. However, he proved himself in this film as a Bollywood leading man. Lara Dutta shined in this film, playing his doting wife. Om Puri and Rajpal Yadav are scene-stealers like usual.  Shah Rukh Khan was more of a supporting player, and that’s OK, because the few times he is onscreen, he makes the most of it.  Also, the cinematography was gorgeous, it took place in a village, but the shots of the landscape played a prominent role in the film.

Lara Dutta and a beautiful landscape
Lara Dutta and a beautiful landscape

The music by Pritam was awesome, with Love Mera Hit Hit being a catchy number and awfully funny (Bollywood goes to space, I love it!). Love Mera Hit Hit was even re-made into a Serbian pop song. The Marjaani Marjaani track with Kareena Kapoor is another highlight, and much better than the Yeh Mera Dil fiasco from Don. You never go wrong with the Sukhwinder Singh and Gulzar combination! Marjaani Marjaani was also featured on So You Think You Can Dance in the US. The Khudaya Khair song where Shah Rukh Khan was wooing Lara Dutta was funny too, even though it was a dream.

Kareena Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan in Marjaani Marjaani
Kareena Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan in Marjaani Marjaani

So MissMalini readers, why didn’t this movie resonate with Indian audiences? What was your opinion of the film?

PS: What is the issue with the word “barber” in India?

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