Technicians Nirav Shah (cinematography), William Wong (stunts), Milan (art), Sreekar Prasad (editing) and Anu Vardhan (costume) acquit themselves well in the much-awaited Ajith fiesta, Ananda Pictures Circuit & Ayngaran International’s Billa (U/A). Otherwise the flaws of the earlier Billa have been sincerely retained. Comparisons with Shah Rukh Khan’s version don’t arise because Don doesn’t follow the earlier Billa entirely.
The hero, described as highly astute, easily succumbs to the seductive charm of Riya (Rose). That he escapes the dragnet is fine, but being gullible doesn’t suit the ‘smart aleck’ tag that goes with Billa. Again, just pointing a gun at the police helps Sasha (Nayantara) get into Billa’s gang. And if you thought there’s a story behind it, there is. But it has nothing to do with her rendezvous with the men in uniform. Ranjit (Yog Japi), Billa’s confidant, isn’t bright either.
Billa (Ajith) is an internationally notorious criminal hounded by the police, prominent among them being officer Jaiprakash (Prabhu). Jai gets him but the altercation costs Billa his life. Now emerges the look-alike Velu (Ajith again). Jai uses him to round up Billa’s gang, but when Jai himself gets killed, Velu realises he has caught the tiger by its tail…
In costume, demeanour and expression, Ajith as the don, fills the bill. Acting wise, he has little to do. But in stunts, he stuns. The risks he has taken are incredible. In Billa, expressions hardly exist — probably when you toe the action line, Hollywood style, you have to look serious and stone-faced all the time. Most of the characters do just that.
Prabhu gives the much-needed fillip to the role. Namita is tame — the oomph hardly makes a difference. But Nayantara’s dare-to-bare look should leave many speechless. Using white and black predominantly, Anu comes out with classy outfits for the main characters, completely in sync with Nirav and Milan. Probably she could have played down the cleavage angle a little for Nayan — not one outfit attempts it. Graciously she doesn’t try it out on Namita!
The best thing about Vishnu Vardhan’s screenplay is he has done away with certain redundant aspects of the original. And admirably, dialogue (Raj Kannan) is minimal and sentiment is kept in abeyance. (Ajith’s first word, “checkmate,” occurs 15 minutes after his appearance!) You neither have time-consuming duets nor dry comedy tracks. However, the placement of songs is jarring. Yuvan’s re-recording is brilliant — the relevant music of the ‘Sei’ number in the background when Billa kills the singer is an example. The other songs are a dampener, the re-mixed ‘My name …’ in particular. Caressing the camera with an expert touch is Nirav Shah — he ought to be commended for the aesthetic lighting and tones. Milan’s art is not far behind. Extraordinary sound mixing (U.K.I. Iyyappan) and DTS (Prime Focus) warrant special mention.
Pace plays spoilsport in Billa. Though it lives up to the pre-release hype about its chic factor and has a handsome hero to boot, this remake extravaganza isn’t at its appealing best mainly because it is faithful to the Tamil original to a fault. Yet you have to give it to Vishnu — flamboyance spells class in Ajith’s Billa.
Billa Genre Action
Director Vishnu Vardhan
Cast Ajith Kumar, Nayantara, Prabhu, Namita
Storyline A notorious don gets killed but on instructions from a police officer, his look alike takes on the mantle
Bottomline A routine end to a riveting beginning!