REVIEW: Bala - Hair takes the cover of skin but they both don't thrive individually in the plot.

Updated: Nov 9, 2019

Bala thrives by mixing emotions and social messages with a texture of light-hearted comedy but weakens when it comes to showing two problems at the same time.

Set in Kanpur, Balmukund Shukla ( Ayushmann Khurrana) is a marketing agent for beauty products but he is suffering from pattern baldness. He is very filmy, mimicking every famous Bollywood actor of the generation. He wants to be a stand-up artist, he wants to make everyone laugh but in the end, he gets laughs when his cap falls. He is charming, he is sensitive, he is the new age Shah Rukh Khan with no hair. Ayushmann Khurrana is taking scripts on social problems so much that he has almost covered every problem from the southernmost to the northernmost part of the upper body. I think only lower body problems are left now. Coming back to Bala, he has given a brilliant performance once again and redefined his best game again on the screen.

After more than two hundred “Nuske”, he decides to wear a wig. He meets his dream girl, Pari Mishra (Yami Gautam), impresses her, marries her but she never knows about his baldness and the fact that he wears a wig. Yami Gautam’s monologue on “beauty is everything she has” is well scripted and pretty well acted. Her expressions are in sync each time from playing a featherbrained person to being a person betrayed by another who is the most beautiful film for her. Her anger rolls down from her eyeballs almost as if living with a man different from the one she fell in love with is the greatest suffering she could ever face in her life.

Bala’s childhood friend Latika (Bhumi Pednekar) is a dark-skinned lawyer, who is a rising activist in a place where other’s opinions change the effect of the wrongdoings of a patriarchal society. Latika is happy with how she looks and has accepted herself. Bhumi Pednekar might have acted good but you can’t just overcome the fact that the character of a dark-skinned girl is played by a girl of fair complexion. Amar Kaushik takes two lives- one of a man, another of a woman to show how they both are crushed by the society because of their hair and skin color, respectively but if one gets more screen space, the other feels left off.

Similar to Judgemental Hai Kya & Dream Girl the film makes interesting remarks to the things taught to us in religion and even justifies it in the end. The screen-time taken to show the development of love between Pari and Bala through TikTok videos feels a bit stretched. And even the second half takes very high jumps which could have been smooth if minor jumps were slowly taken in the first half. The character arcs and the plot is pretty predictable while Ujda Chaman's protagonist's self-realization part comes with a surprise but Bala's self-realization part can be seen from a mile away.

Hair is a character itself as it is being voiceover by Vijay Raaz which looks a bit old-fashioned and unnecessary. Music isn’t that adaptable to the plot. Songs based on baldness were needed but it looked irritating at some places. In one scene Ayushmann tells Javed Jaffrey “Mera chaman ujad raha hai kuch kijiye.” I don’t know now that it was intentional or unintentional. Javed Jaffrey, Abhishek Banerjee, and Ranjan Raj all for their little screen times were pretty excellent. Though Ranjan Raj's character could have been explored more, probably he could have been the voiceover of Bala’s story. Monologue sequences are well scripted.

Overall, Bala has the heart at a few places but it isn’t able to use them at places, still, it can be considered a good entertainer.