Bala is a Bollywood movie based on a guy named Bala, who is bald. This is ironic because he got this name because the beautiful hair he had once (Bal means ‘hair’ in hindi). The main characters of the movie are Bala played by Ayushman Khurana, Latika played by Bhumi Pednekar and Pari played by Yami Gautam.
Bala, a guy in his late 20s works in the sales department of a fairness cream company. Now, if you are not aware of fairness cream, let me enlighten you real quick! In India, people have this obsession about being fair and that is how fairness product came into picture in the first place. “Fair and Lovely” is one such fairness cream which is scamming people promising fairness in 15 days!
I have been seeing their commercials since my childhood and I did not realize how problematic and non-sense the commercials were until very recently somebody pointed that out. The most common plot used to be like- a girl is getting ridiculed by society, not getting the job she deserves, not getting front place in the dance crew etc because of her dark complexion…
After using fairness cream she turns into a fair person- now every opportunity is at her feet! There are so many things wrong about those commercials that I cannot comprehend in words.
However this idea has been adapted in the movie as well, while Bala tries to sell the fairness cream. He speaks about how we cannot change the society except changing ourselves. Latika, a childhood friend of Bala was tricked by her aunt to attend the “seminar” where Bala was trying to sell his producrs to a bunch of young girls having dark complexion.
Latika herself has brown skin but she didn’t let it decide her destiny- she was a successful lawyer in the locality and she accepted herself the way she was. Infuriated by Bala’s advertisement strategy, she walked straight to him and asked him, “Why are you wearing this cap?” and snatched the cap in no time exposing his bald head. While, Bala was trying to take advantage of the low self-esteem of the young girls having dark complexion, Latika exposed his biggest insecurity- his reducing hairline.
The handsome young man, wants to grow some hair on head at any cost. From childhood, the thick black hair was part of his identity. With the thinning hair, Bala was suffering an existential crisis- it seemed to him like- nothing, absolutely nothing was good in his life. Bala’s family supported him in all possible way, from taking him to doctor to making DIY packs and applying on his head- in fact the pure vegetarian family went all their way out to buy eggs for fixing his hair… but nothing was working out. One day, Bala’s dad gifted him a wig-that changed his life.
Skeptical at first but when he put on that wig, he wasn’t ready to put it off again. Bala gained back his confidence again, also his job position which he lost earlier because of his appearance. Eventually Bala met his crush Pari, who was the brand ambassador of the fairness cream he sells. Very quickly they fell for each other and knot the tie.
On the other hand, Latika’s aunt was concerned about her marriage. Talented and beautiful she was, yet most of the guys would reject to marry her. Latika’s aunt secretly opens an Instagram account for her, where she posted highly edited pictures of Latika. This all she did with the help of Bala. One family liked her pictures and agreed to meet her for the marriage. Latika and her aunt met the guy’s family in the restaurant. They were disappointed and shocked to see her in person as she was not at all recognizable- when Latika saw the edited pic of herself she felt betrayed and humiliated and left the table.
Knowing that Bala had helped in maintaining the “fake” insta profile, she ran to his house for explanation. In a heated argument with Bala, she talked about his baldness and Bala’s newly-wed wife Pari’s world shattered after hearing the truth. Bala could not gather enough courage to confess this to Pari before their marriage and even when did, he sent a text message that did not reach her on the day of their wedding. Pari packed her luggage and left the house in no time. Bala’s life was again the hot mess.
Pari filed a divorce case as she felt betrayed by Bala. Nobody would take Bala’s case except his childhood classmate Latika. Pari raised a very good point in the court –
Bala could not accept himself as a bald guy, he even covered the upper part of the mirror in his washroom… how could he except her to accept him like he was? Also, on the course of the conversation she shares how important appearance was for her and that was the only reason she got people’s attention. The divorce could not be turned down by the court.
Bala finally accepted himself after that, he threw away the wig. He quit the job of selling fairness product and started doing stand-up comedy which was passion of his life. Latika too found the love of her life and got married.
There are few points I would like to highlight about the movie-
- In the starting of the movie, there is a scene where Bala bullied Latika for her dark skin when they were barely kids. I could not accept those dialogue’s coming from a kid’s mouth.
I don’t know, it seemed a little bit unrealistic to me. I feel that kids would be only ones who actually do not care about the appearance. Now it is definitely subject to change with change in cities, culture and what kids see around them. However the scene did not work for me.
- The whole baldness thing was relatable till a point. I have seen many of male classmates being insecure about their reducing hairline and baldness. Even as a girl, hair-fall is a major stress for me. But the problems shown in the movie went overboard to a level when it felt neither real nor comedic.
- The character of Latika could have been offered to an actual dark skinned actress. The spray tan or whatever makeup was used to make Bhumi dark complexion wasn’t looking realistic at all and it was painful to watch.
The irony is that a bald and talented young actor and dark and beautiful actress could have taken the roles!
- All the characters in Bala’s family suited really well. I loved all the scenes involving the family members.
- I loved the character of Pari a lot. It suited the best because Yami Gautam herself has been promoting “Fair and Lovely” for so long. Also her character is Tik-Tok obsessed! She wanted to make posts about her first night after wedding- we truly are that generation.
- I would appreciate the fact that Latika didn’t end up with Bala after his divorce. They remained good friends.
Overall, the movie was a one-time watch. A few joke, here and there- second half felt a little dragged. Moral of the story is “self love and self acceptance” is all you need to be happy in your life.