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Billu

Promotional Poster
Directed by Priyadarshan
Produced by Gauri Khan
Written by Screenplay:
Manisha Korde
Mushtaq Sheikh
Story:
Sreenivasan (actor)
Starring Irrfan Khan,
Lara Dutta,
Om Puri,
Rajpal Yadav,
Asrani
Music by Pritam
Cinematography Manikandan
Editing by Arun Kumar
Distributed by Eros Labs
Release date(s) February 13, 2009
Running time 150 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR 23 crores
Gross revenue INR 39.98 crores

Billu (Hindi: बिल्लू), originally titled Billu Barber and released under that title in the United States,[1][2] is a 2009 Bollywood film by Priyadarshan, produced by Gauri Khan, with an adapted screenplay by Manisha Korde and Mushtaq Sheikh based on the script by Sreenivasan. It stars Irrfan Khan and Lara Dutta, and features Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav and Asrani in supporting roles. Shahrukh Khan makes an extended appearance in the film, while Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone,[3] and Priyanka Chopra[4] make guest appearances in item numbers. The film was released on 13 February 2009 and it was a hit all over India.

It is a remake of the 2007 Indian film, in the Malayalam language, Kadha Parayumbol. It is also a retelling of the story of Sudama and Krishna.[5]

Contents

Plot

Billu (Irfan Khan) is a poor barber who lives with his wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and their two children, Gunja (Mitali Mayakar) and Ronak (Pratik Dalvi) in the village of Budbuda. He also spends time with his close friends Budbudiya (Rajpal Yadav) and Naubat Chacha (Asrani). Though struggling, Billu lives an uneventful life until Bollywood superstar Sahir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) comes to the village for a film shoot.

Billu has mentioned to his family that he knows Sahir from the past but has never elaborated how he knows the star. When his children talk about their father's friendship with the star, word spreads throughout the village. Virtually overnight, Billu, who had previously been scorned by most due to his lowly state, becomes the center of attention. People who had spurned him only the week before now call him a close friend so that he will introduce them to Sahir. Billu refuses and downplays the friendship. Even so, the powerful businessman Sahukaar Daamchand (Om Puri) demands to see Sahir and offers Billu expensive gifts in order to gain such a meeting. When Billu consistently fails to introduce the people of the village to Sahir, his situation changes once again. He is accused of lying about his friendship and everyone — including his wife and children — begin to doubt his character and integrity. Rather than defend himself, Billu remains quiet about the nature of his and Sahir's friendship.

On Sahir's last day in the village, the star speaks at a local school. He tells the children about his own impoverished childhood when he had nothing but a special friendship with another young boy, named Billu. It was Billu who had taken care of Sahir and eventually helped him travel to Mumbai where Sahir became a star. Billu, who is standing at the back of the event, leaves during the talk without revealing to Sahir that he is there. But the townspeople, realizing their error, take Sahir to Billu's house. Billu's children come home and apologize to their father. Then, Sahir appears, and Billu and Sahir are reunited. In the end, Sahir must leave for another shoot but promises that his and Billu's friendship is reignited and will remain friends.

Production

Director Priyadarshan cast Shahrukh Khan and Lara Dutta in pivotal roles in the film. While these roles were initially offered to Akshay Kumar and Tabu, Kumar eventually opted out of the project [6] as did Tabu.[7] The director then offered Kumar's and Tabu's role to Shahrukh Khan and Amisha Patel respectively, and both of them agreed to do the film.[8] Patel also opted out of the film [9] and sources have indicated that Juhi Chawla was signed on for the role.[10]

In April 2008, the director announced that he had cast Lara Dutta as Billu's wife.[11] The cast began filming for the project on 8 April 2008[12] and according to Shahrukh Khan, "the film is a sweet story of friendship...quite similar to the bond shared between Krishna and Sudama."[3] The film also features Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone in item numbers with Shahrukh Khan.[13]

Cast

Actor Role
Irrfan Khan Billu Barber
Shahrukh Khan Sahir Khan
Lara Dutta Bindiya
Om Puri Sahukaar Daamchand
Rajpal Yadav Zallan Kumar (Budbudiya)
Asrani Naubat Chacha
Pushkar Shrotri
Nagesh Bhonsle
Atul Parchure
Mitali Mayakar Gunja
Pratik Dalvi Ronak (Duggu)
Manoj Joshi Damodar Dubey
Rushabh Shah Taro Bapu
Incidentally
Special appearances

Release

Box-office

Billu earned Rs.23.65 crore during its first six weeks.[14] Box Office India rated the film as a flop.[14]

Reviews

Billu opened to good reviews. In reviewing the film, Derek Elley of Variety stated: "Bigtime Bollywood meets small-town India with quietly entertaining, finally moving results in Billu Barber. Simple tale of friendship cleverly manages to bring together superstar Shah Rukh Khan, in full-on pin-up mode, with Irrfan Khan, who's developed into one of the industry's best character actors, in a movie that straddles both mainstream Hindi cinema and more specialty fare. Mid-February release, produced by Khan's own company, Red Chillies, won't approach the grosses of his last starrer, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, but is way more engaging on an emotional level".[15] Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter states that Billu is a "Bollywood comedy about an unlikely friendship [that] is full of unexpected pleasures".[1] Frank Lovece of Film Journal International describes the film as a "delight" and states, "What makes it work ... is that neither Billu nor his situation is played for laughs—his hardscrabble poverty isn't glossed over, and neither is his wife's longing for acceptance in the class-conscious village. And a climactic speech by Khan at a school gathering works fully well emotionally, despite a huge potential for hokiness—and incidentally provides concrete reason why real-life Khan, who's often starred in glowering action-hero roles, is a genuinely top-notch actor in addition to being a popular star".[2] The Times of India gave the film three stars and describes it as "a moving ode to friendship and ordinariness".[16] While CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand gave the film two out of five stars, he stated that it "works smoothly as a simple, moral tale, its charm interrupted every time the director goes for broader, more 'commercial' appeal. But it's enjoyable and heart-felt too, and for that reason deserves to be watched".[17] Shashi Baliga of the Hindustan Times said that, "Though the film has its share of stock characters, maudlin and over-the-top moments and sags in the latter half, there’s also good story-telling, some great acting, and a healthy dose of masala in the item numbers".[18]

Soundtrack

Billu Barber
Soundtrack by Pritam
Released January 2009 (2009-01)
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 70:64
Label T-Series
Producer Gauri Khan
Professional reviews

Released on 5 January 2009, the soundtrack for Billu has music by Pritam with lyrics from Gulzar, Neeraj Shridhar and Sayeed Quadri.

Track Title Lyrics Artist(s) Length
1. "Marjaani"   Gulzar Sukhwinder Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan  
2. "Love Mera Hit Hit"   Ashish Pandit, Mayur Puri Neeraj Shridhar, Tulsi Kumar  
3. "You Get Me Rockin & Reeling"   Sayeed Quadri Neeraj Shridhar  
4. "Ae Aa O"   Neeraj Shridhar K. K., Rana Mazumder, Neeraj Shridhar  
5. "Jahoon Kahan"   Sayeed Quadri Rahat Fateh Ali Khan  
6. "Billoo Bhayankar"   Gulzar Ajay Jhingran, Kalpana  
7. "Khudaya Khair"   Gulzar Neeraj Shridhar (Soham, Akruti Kakkar, Monali Thakur - chorus)  
8. "You Get Me Rockin & Reeling (Remix)"        
9. "Love Mera Hit Hit (House Mix)"        
10. "Marjaani (Kilogram's Balkan Mix)"        
11. "Khudaya Khair (Reprise)"   Gulzar Abhijeet  
12. "You Get Me Rockin & Reeling (Video Edit)"        
13. "Ae Aa O (Remix)"        
14. "Marjaani (Electro House)"        
15. "Love Mera Hit Hit (Remix)"        

Controversy

The film was originally titled Billu Barber, but salon and beauty parlour associations raised objections by finding the word "barber" derogatory.[19] As head of the film's production company, Shahrukh Khan eventually removed the word from the movie title and promotions,[20] renaming the film Billu. He also invited The Hairdressers' Association of Mumbai members to the premier of the movie in order to assuage their protests.[21]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Tsering, Lisa, "Film Review: Billu Barber", The Hollywood Reporter
  2. ^ a b Lovece, Frank, "Film Review: Billu Barber", Film Journal International
  3. ^ a b "Shah Rukh Khan speaks about Billoo". Bollywood Hungama. 26 April 2008. http://www.indiafm.com/news/2008/04/26/11293/index.html. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Priyanka to sizzle for Shahrukh". Entertainment.OneIndia. http://entertainment.oneindia.in/bollywood/gupshup/2008/priyanka-shahrukh-billoo--211108.html. Retrieved 2008-11-20.  (dead link 2009-02-19)
  5. ^ BILLU BARBER to rekindle the Krishna-Sudama friendship
  6. ^ "Shahrukh picks what Akshay dumps". Kumar opts out of Billo Barber. http://www.bollywoodmantra.com/news/shahrukh-picks-what-akshay-dumps/2597/. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Hotbed of problems". Tabu opts out of Billu Barber. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=30&contentid=200803272008032702260113946296127. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  8. ^ "SRK mil gaya!". Shahrukh Khan & Amisha Patel signed on. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=30&contentid=2008032520080325021221920fa868c2f. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  9. ^ "Yeh dil maange more!". Patel opts out of Billoo Barber. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=30&contentid=20080401200804010207191839f60c64d. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  10. ^ "Juhi to replace Amisha in Billoo Barbar?". Juhi Chawla to essay the roles of the barber's wife. http://inhome.rediff.com/movies/2008/apr/02juhi.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  11. ^ "The Barber gets a wife". Priyadarshan signs Lara Dutta. http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?Page=article&sectid=30&contentid=20080413200804130331524258edf724. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  12. ^ "SRK shoots for Priyadarshan's BILLOO BARBER!". Billoo Barber begins filming. http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/08/apr/14-srk-shoots-for-priyadarshans-billo-barber-040805.asp. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  13. ^ http://www.mid-day.com/entertainment/2008/oct/271008-shah-rukh-khan-bollywood-superstars-interviews-salman-khan-akshay-kumar-tiff1.htm
  14. ^ a b [1]
  15. ^ Elley, Derek,Billu Barber (review), Variety
  16. ^ "Movie Review: Billu", Times of India
  17. ^ "Billu (Movie Review) - CNN-IBN (Rajeev Masand)". movie review. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/masands-movie-review-billu-barber-a-simple-moral-tale/85289-8-17.html. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  18. ^ Baliga, Shashi, "Yes, they Khan", Hindustan Times'
  19. ^ "Barbers up in arms over SRK's Billu Barber". 8 February 2009. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/barbers-up-in-arms-over-srks-billu-barber/84800-8.html. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  20. ^ "Coming soon: Billu, not Barber". http://inhome.rediff.com/movies/2009/feb/10billu-not-barber.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  21. ^ "SRK to invite barbers, hairstylists for Billu premiere". 11 February 2009. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/srk-to-invite-barbers-hairstylists-for-billu-premiere/85082-8.html. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 

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