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Bala – The Bald with Balls?

‘Presenting a subject so craftfully, the filmmakers have balanced the struggles of a bald man with hard hitting comic situations that Bala’s predicament creates. The strong cast has done quite a commendable job.

Bala, is a 2019 movie directed by Amar Kaushik, and stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Yami Gautam in lead roles. The plot revolves around the story of a man (Bala) who struggles with premature balding. The story follows his love story with Pari (Yami Gautam) who is a tik tok star, and his conflict with his childhood classmate Latika (Bhumi Pednekar.) Bala torn by the insecurity of his physical appearance tries several methods to regain his falling hair. His failed attempts include applying all sorts of oils, eggs and even bull’s semen. After several failed attempts he resorts to wearing a wig. He meets Pari with the wig on and they fall in love, with Pari in absolute dark about the fake hair. Bala’s adventures trying to keep his secret promises a hilarious, joyful ride.

Cast of Bala
Image Credits: Economic Times

The director has presented the subject beautifully, balancing the struggles of a bald man with comic situations that Bala’s predicament creates. The strong cast has done quite a commendable job. Ayushmann Khurrana is amazing as Bala, portraying the emotions of struggle and insecurity with pure finesse, his comic timing is also impeccable. Bhumi Pednekar is fierce in the role of a lawyer. She plays the role of a dark complexioned girls who fights against the odds of the society that aims to downgrade her for her compexion. Yami Gautam plays the character of the girl who is an internet sensation. She delivers the extreme emotions felt by her over dramatic character perfectly. While some may call it overacting, but I will call it demand of the character which she delivers stunningly. My favourite is the scene where she finds out that Bala is actually bald. Her over dramatic tone makes the emotionally tense moment hilarious. Her running as she shouts ‘Mera Pati Takla hai’, was one of the most tickling scenes.
The script writer has quite brilliantly made the movie relevant to the current times, by including TikTok in the love story. There are no unnecessary Item songs, romantic songs inserted forcibly in between. The flow of the movie is quite natural, with no boring moments. The movie will not let your attention flatter.

Bala watching Yami Gautam aka Pari Mishra’s Tiktok videos
Image Credits: Lighthouse Insights

Bala is a story about flawed people, dealing with their physical imperfections, a story about their realization of real meaning of beauty. While Bala has a strong cause behind it, it falls for the same hypocrisy that it aims to fight. Casting Bhumi Pednekar as the dark skinned girl is inappropriate on so many levels. If the skin colour of the lead actresses was so important to the story, why not cast a girl with the same colour? Here also the dark skinned girls have been side lined, denied the opportunity of a role that could have been fit for them.
Bala may be a unique concept but it delivers a flawed message. The movie ends with Bala realizing that he should not change his appearances rather get comfortable with how he looks.
The movie reinforces the culture of people making fun of each other in the end. Bala asks his audience to not get affected by the jokes made on their expense, which is quite ignorant. Urging the person to change from within rather than asking the society to rise from the shackles of regressive thinking is where Bala fails.. He also pleads the audience to not change and get comfortable in their skin which was good advice.
Bala end with the dialogue Badalna Kyu hai, has my heart.
Bala is a fun ride which deserves your time. A movie that balances social message with comedy is worth watching. In the age of remakes and sequels we need fresh movies like Bala.
I will give it a 4/ 5 stars.

Rutba Iqbal
Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia

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Written by Rutba Iqbal

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