When you're about to watch a movie with performers like Irfan Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav and Asrani who you believe will be ably supported by Lara Dutta and Manoj Joshi, your expectations are bound to be high. I had pretty high expectations of Billu as well. As it turns out this is a movie that could have well been 30 minutes shorter and for all I care, it creates a buildup to a climax that's all too predictable.
Now I'm no film critic, so I'll shy away from the technical observations. It'll be unfair to say though, that the stars didn't play their part. Irfan Khan is clearly the lead in the movie, and Shahrukh Khan just plays himself, so that couldn't be difficult. Om Puri and Rajpal Yadav are really wasted in the movie and Asrani could have easily been replaced by someone else and you wouldn't notice the difference. Its a shame that a star cast like that can't deliver the entertainment that you're looking for.
To be fair, Priyadarshan as a director could have chosen not to let the story drag on for so long and announced the climax a little earlier. I guess however, he was keen to cash in on Shahrukh's star appeal and throw in Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor to add the oomph! So, he added half a dozen songs that had really little to do with the plot. Anyways, here's where I'm going to disclose the story and save you the money. If you want to watch the movie, stop reading:
- SRK plays Sahir Khan -- the top actor of Bollywood; Irfan Khan plays Billu, an impoverished barber in the little village of Budbudda -- a universally recognized loser.
- Sahir Khan comes to Budbudda for a shoot and it emerges that he is actually Billu's friend. Billu is reluctant to admit this, but people get to know and start asking for favors and bestow all sorts of favors on him.
- Billu feels that Sahir would have forgotten him, since he's a big man now, and lives in avoidance until people actually start doubting his friendship with Sahir Khan and get him into jail for fraud.
- Sahir announces his friendship with Billu and the contributions the barber had made to his life to the utter amazement of the villagers and Billu is finally the toast of the town.
That's the story, and its a pity it took Priyadarshan 138 minutes to tell. My suggestion -- avoid Billu, read a book! You'll perhaps gain more out of your 138 minutes.