Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Yami Gautam
Director: Amar Kaushik
What’s it about:
Fed up of his bald pate deciding his fate, Balmukund Shukla or Bala decides to wig it up. But will his artificial hair bring him real happiness?
Salesman of a fairness cream by the day and a stand-up comedian by the night. Meet Bala (Ayushmann). The only thing missing in his life is his hair that was once silky and smooth. Thanks to them, he was the cheeky little brat in school, who mocked his balding teacher and derided his fellow classmate Latika (Bhumi Pednekar) for her skin color. He impressed the girls with his theatrics and always lived with a swag.
As fate would have it, at 25, Bala loses most of his hair but not his mojo. He starts trying many hacks to fix the problem, but it only gets worse. Thankfully, the way Bala’s character is written by Niren Bhatt and enacted by Ayushamann, he never really comes across as a bechara. The film’s entire first half remains highly funny and entertaining with Bala trying different remedies to get rid of his bald pate. Ultimately, he finds a wig that sticks and makes his confidence soar. Bala manages to get the girl of his dreams Pari Mishra (Yami Gautam) – a tiktok star and a local model in Uttar Pradesh. Ayushmann is so spot on with Bala’s portrayal that it’s hard to think that he is acting. From the Kanpuri accent or Bala’s pale look and body language, he nails every aspect of the character. Bhumi Pednekar is good as the firebrand lawyer who is always resentful because of the prejudice she faces due to her skin color. But her make-up makes her look like one of those telebrand models and not convincing at all. Yami Gautam looks too old for the role of a floozy social media star. However, it’s the character stars like Saurabh Shukla and Abhishek Banerjee who stand out.
Bala’s first half is all fun but the second half is more dramatic and preachy. It puts the brakes on fun but the film continues to hold your interest. The film’s core message about bias and body shaming is highlighted repeatedly, but at just a little over two hours, Bala doesn’t feel stretched. Watch it for Ayushmann’s hair-raising performance and clever writing.