Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Yami Gautam
Director: Amar Kaushik
There is more to a good comedy film than dropping a few clever jokes. Director Amar Kaushik understands the mechanics well–something he displayed earlier in Stree, and Bala takes it a notch higher.
The film starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a prematurely balding man is outrageously hilarious and empathetic at the same time. It introduces a quirky subject and builds on it with a single-minded commitment without meandering towards needless subplots.
Ayushmann is in form, yet again, as he plays an ordinary man with an extraordinary problem. The actor has picked up taboo subjects in the past too, delivering films that are not just entertaining but give life lessons too. Bala, by far, is the funniest of them all and Ayushmann hits the ball out of the court. Despite not being your conventional hero, the actor impresses each time.
Set in Kanpur, the film narrates the story of Balmukund Shukla aka Bala (Khurrana), a stud in his school whose silky smooth hair makes him the favorite boy in his class.
Switch to his mid-20s and he has a bald pate. His childhood sweetheart has left him, any girl he meets him for marriage takes one look at his bald head and runs away screaming. He also gets demoted at his workplace where he sells Pretty You fairness creams and faces constant humiliation because he looks older for his age and hence can’t be in marketing.
Bala refuses to give up hope. After trying some 212 odd hacks in two years that range from wacky to obnoxious — standing upside down to ensure better blood flow to roots, rubbing raw onion on the scalp or applying a mixture of buffalo poop and semen–he finally wears a wig and goes from being the joke of the town to the talk of the town. Soon he finds love in Pari Mishra (Yami). But what happens to Bala’s fate when his childhood friend Latika Trivedi (Bhumi Pednekar) lets the secret out? Will Bala’s wedding night turn into a nightmare? Will his happiness fade like his hairline?
The first half of the film is ridiculously funny with some fantastic one-liners and punches that evoke genuine laughter. Niren Bhatt’s writing deserves a standing ovation; it’s impressive how subtly he talks about baldness and mentions Anupam Kher and Rajinikanth in one breath offending no one.