'Bala' review: Ayushmann Khurrana owns every scene, Bhumi Pednekar's dark-skinned make-up looks unconvincing
'Bald' with the right amount of 'Beautiful'.
Ayushmann Khurrana plays Bal Mukund Shukla — Bala to friends and family — a 25-year-old with a rapidly receding hairline. He suffers confidence issues because he is constantly fending off rejection in a world that openly discriminates against physical flaws.
Watching Khurrana as Bala, you understand why casting the actor has been an advantage lately. He has managed to elevate his brand value to that of a star. Yet, his characters are rooted, letting writers and directors capitalise on his slant at experimentation.
#Bala ki tasveer aapne banaayi. #Bala ki taqdeer aapne banaayi. #gratitude https://t.co/0VQvvCDC7f— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) 1573389270000
Bala ka bolbala! Thank you for showering #Bala with so much love! Kya aapne tickets book kar li? If you haven't, wh… https://t.co/x22QfY8wA0— Ayushmann Khurrana (@ayushmannk) 1573366046000
What works to the film’s advantage, however, is that it doesn’t hinge on Khurrana’s performance; it’s also a reflection of the human perception about looking good.
If Bala is tormented at losing out in personal and professional life owing to loss of hair, his neighbour Latika (Bhumi Pednekar) is used to another aspect of body-shaming since childhood: She is the dark-skinned girl in small-town Kanpur. Bright enough to carve her professional space as a lawyer, but not bright enough in complexion to interest the “neighbourhood cool dude” Bala through their growing-up years.
While Khurrana owns every scene, and gets the small-town look and accent down pat, Bhumi and Yami are also cast well in roles that accord importance to the heroines. However, one sore point is Bhumi’s blackened make-up to make her appear dark-skinned. It looks unconvincing.