Bala is a Bollywood movie about a man named Bala, who is bald. This irony lies in his name—Bal means “hair” in Hindi. The main characters are Ayushman Khurana as Bala, Bhumi Pednekar as Latika and Yami Gautam as Pari.
Bala Movie Plot
Bala, a guy in his late twenties, works in the sales department of a fairness cream company. If you’re unfamiliar with fairness creams, here’s some insight: In India, people have an obsession with being fair and that’s how these products came to be. “Fair and Lovely” is one such cream that scams people by promising fairness in fifteen days!
I’ve seen their commercials since childhood, but only recently realized how problematic they were. The most common plot was a girl being ridiculed, not getting the job she deserved, or not getting front place in a dance crew because of her dark complexion.
After using fairness cream, she became fair. Now, every opportunity is within reach! Those commercials are so problematic that I can’t put it into words.
Bala tries to sell his fairness cream and adapts this idea in the movie. He says we can’t change society, only ourselves. Latika, Bala’s childhood friend, is tricked by her aunt into attending a “seminar” where he sells his products to young girls with dark complexions.
Latika had brown skin, but she refused to let it dictate her destiny. She was a successful lawyer in the area and embraced herself as she was. Infuriated by Bala’s advertisement strategy, she marched up to him and asked, “Why are you wearing this cap?” In an instant, she snatched the cap away and exposed his bald head. While Bala tried to exploit the low self-esteem of young girls with dark complexions, Latika revealed his greatest insecurity—his receding hairline.
The handsome young man wants to grow hair on his head at any cost. Thick, black hair has been part of his identity since childhood. But with the thinning strands, Bala was suffering an existential crisis—it seemed like nothing in his life was good. His family supported him in every way they could: from taking him to doctors to making DIY packs and applying them on his head—in fact, the pure vegetarian family even bought eggs for fixing Bala’s hair… but nothing worked out. One day, Bala’s dad gifted him a wig that changed his life.
Skeptical at first, Bala put on the wig and regained his confidence and job position he had lost due to his appearance. He soon met Pari, the brand ambassador for the fairness cream he sold, and they fell in love quickly. On the other hand, Latika’s aunt was worried about her marriage prospects as many guys rejected her despite her being talented and beautiful. She secretly created an Instagram account with highly edited pictures of Latika with Bala’s help. One family liked these pictures and agreed to meet Latika for marriage purposes. When they arrived at a restaurant to meet them, however, they were shocked by how different she looked from the edited photos; feeling betrayed and humiliated, Latika left the table.
Knowing that Bala had helped maintain the “fake” Insta profile, she ran to his house for an explanation. In a heated argument, she talked about his baldness and Bala’s newly-wed wife Pari’s world shattered after hearing the truth. Bala couldn’t muster up enough courage to confess this to Pari before their marriage, and when he did, he sent a text message that didn’t reach her on the day of their wedding. Pari packed her bags and left in no time. Bala’s life was again in disarray. Pari filed for divorce as she felt betrayed by him. Nobody would take on Bala’s case except his childhood classmate Latika. In court, Pari raised a very valid point…
Bala couldn’t accept being bald, so he covered the top of his bathroom mirror. How could he expect her to accept him as is? During their conversation she revealed how important appearances were for her and that was the only way she gained people’s attention. The court refused to deny the divorce.
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-
At the beginning of the movie, Bala bullies Latika for her dark skin when they are just children. I couldn’t accept those words coming from a kid’s mouth.
I don’t know, it seemed a bit unrealistic to me. Kids are usually the ones who don’t care about appearances. But this can change depending on cities, culture and what they see around them. The baldness thing was relatable up to a point. I’ve seen many male classmates being insecure about their receding hairlines and baldness. Even as a girl, hair-fall is a major stress for me. But the problems depicted in the movie went too far; neither realistic nor comedic.
The character of Latika should have been offered to an actual dark-skinned actress instead of using spray tan or makeup to make Bhumi darker complexion—it wasn’t looking realistic at all and it was painful to watch! Ironically, a bald and talented young actor and dark and beautiful actress could have taken these roles! All characters in Bala’s family suited really well—I loved all scenes involving them.
I also liked Pari’s character a lot—it fit Yami Gautam perfectly since she had been promoting “Fair & Lovely” for so long; plus her character is TikTok obsessed! She wanted to post about her first night after wedding—we truly are that generation!
Overall, the movie was a one-time watch. A few jokes here and there; the second half felt a bit dragged. The moral of the story is that self-love and acceptance are all you need to be happy in life.
I’d rate Bala 7 out of 10.
Checkout my other movie reactions here.