Bala movie reviews: Here's what critics think of Ayushmann Khurrana's comedy film
Bala, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, is a mix of comedy and drama that tackles premature balding in men. Critics say the film provides a genuinely witty showcase for Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam, all of whom excel themselves.
Just when you thought Ayushmann Khurrana couldn’t get any better, he steps up to movie-star lead status with another uproarious performance. This time as Kanpur-based Balmukund Shukla aka Bala. Last Friday, we saw Sunny Singh's hair-raising story in Ujda Chaman, where the protagonist suffers from hair loss, and this weekend had the acclaimed Ayushmann Khurrana playing a similar role in and as Bala. The actor excels himself and brings ineffable energy to this comedy-drama of a young man grappling with premature balding.
Bala shows a lead character, who suffers from a series of mishaps, brought on by his own inability to deal with hair loss and dwindling self-esteem. At 25, Bala loses hair every day. He tries out, as the narrator (actor Vijay Raaz) tells us, "210 cures in two months" at the behest of his hairdresser-friend (actor Abhishek Banerjee) and the know-it-all Bachchan bhai (actor Javed Jaffery). There’s no potential remedy Bala won’t try; no ‘nuskha’ he won’t give a shot... including oils and eggs, and a mixture of cow dung and bull semen. When everything else fails, he reluctantly goes with a wig.
Bala sticks to its theme - a protagonist's journey of coming to terms with premature balding. Again: in the hands of an actor who wasn’t funny this could have been awful, but Ayushmann Khurrana sells all of it. While the movie has elements of romance, it is ultimately a comedy-drama. In fact, Bala's 'happy ending' truly lies in the acceptance of his appearance, and not in finding love. While most critics agreed Bala was undoubtedly Ayushmann Khurrana's film, they also stressed that actresses Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam played second fiddle with such aplomb that they were never put in the shade. Anna MM Vetticad in her Bala movie review for Firstpost called the cast "absolutely A-grade."
Bala has garnered so much love already! ???? Book your tickets now if you haven't already and hop on this laugh-riot! #Bala in cinemas now! #DineshVijan @amarkaushik @bhumipednekar @yamigautam @maddockfilms @officialjiocinema @officialjiostudios #JaavedJaaferi @saurabhshuklafilms #SeemaPahwa @nowitsabhi @sachinjigar @pvijan @soulfulsachin @jigarsaraiya @sonymusicindia
However, critics also pointed out that the filmmakers' – director Amar Kaushik and write Niren Bhatt – lack of awareness of their own prejudice robs Bala of much of its value. They wondered why no one on Team Bala detected the irony in casting a light-skinned actress (Bhumi Pednekar) as a dark-skinned woman and painting her face dark, rather than casting a dark-skinned woman to play a dark-skinned character.
Here are some of the critic reviews of Bala:
Saibal Chatterjee in NDTV: "Ayushmann Khurrana surrenders himself completely to the demands of the role, conveying the ups and downs, actually mostly downs, of the cocky Bal 'Bala' Mukund Shukla, who, as a teenager, saw himself as the Shah Rukh Khan of Kanpur. In a later scene, he blames his own insensitivity as a boy for his current perceived misfortune... Bala touches upon sensitive issues but makes its point without turning overtly judgmental about anyone or anything. The dialogues are peppered with words like takla, ganja and kaali. However, the negative connotations of these pejorative expressions aren't allowed to linger. If anything, the screenplay finds ways to put a positive spin on them at times. That takes some doing all right, but the writing - it keeps the proceedings light - ensures that the effort does not usually show."
⚠Caution: A heart has broken. Handle with utmost care. A heart touching song- #PyaarTohTha out now! #Bala #DineshVijan @amarkaushik @ayushmannk @yamigautam @officialjiocinema @officialjiostudios #JaavedJaaferi @saurabhshuklafilms #SeemaPahwa @nowitsabhi @jubin_nautiyal @aseeskaurmusic @sachinjigar @pvijan @soulfulsachin @jigarsaraiya @priyasaraiyaofficial @sonymusicindia
Monika Rawal Kukreja in Hindustan Times: "While Ayushmann-Bhumi’s love-hate vibe makes for several funny moments, his TikTok scenes with Yami are undoubtedly the highlight. Quite an interesting way to weave in the 90s flavour with both of them dancing to some popular songs not only recreating the steps but also the looks and outfits... The film doesn’t end at only familiarising us with the plight of balding men. It does let its message of ‘self-love’ come across, telling us how it is okay to feel perfect with your imperfections and why should one change to fit into the set norms. And all of this is done through a stand-up act. Bala is a well-made film that stays true to its genre for most of the time. It makes right jokes at the time and leaves you in stitches more often that you’d expect."
Happy bday Shah sir @iamsrk ???? Main #Bala film mein aapka fan bana hoon. I’d insisted on this. So the producer & the director incorporated it in the script. Sapne dikhaane ke liye shukriya. Pyaar mein yakeen dilaane ke liye shukriya. Aapka jabra fan aur #SRKian. #HappyBirthdaySRK #Bala in theatres on 8th November. Special screenings on 7th November. #DineshVijan @amarkaushik @bhumipednekar @yamigautam @maddockfilms @officialjiocinema @officialjiostudios #JaavedJaaferi @saurabhshuklafilms #SeemaPahwa @nowitsabhi @sachinjigar @pvijan @soulfulsachin @jigarsaraiya @sonymusicindia
Anna MM Vetticad in Firstpost: "The message being driven home by Bala from the start is that we must stop caring about what others think of our looks - that once we begin valuing ourselves, the world will too. Towards this end, it has a dark-skinned heroine called Latika Trivedi who has all her life been derided for her complexion. Getting Bala to be one of those who taunted her in her childhood, and making him a fairness cream salesman in his adulthood even while he battles a bias against early onset baldness, are both nice touches. However, this aspect of the messaging fails because the film reveals its own prejudice against dark skin from the word go."
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Jyoti Kanyal in India Today: From the societal standards of beauty to gender stereotypes, Bala fights several taboo topics and that too without compromising on the laughter. The makers have made the film with the empathy it requires to deal with such topics sans being awkward and hurting anyone’s sentiments. The writing by Niren Bhatt is sharp, intelligent and contemporary. He manages to bring out the essence of a small town like Kanpur through its quirks and is successful in connecting the world to people in metro cities. Deliberately peppered with Bollywood references (from Deewar to Gully Boy), there is never a dull moment in this film that adores Bollywood.