Thursday, December 13, 2007

Coming Soon - Billa


Its been so long since I looked forward to an Ajith film with so much enthusiasm. While the actor's past hits and fan following have made sure that every film of his has atleast some hype and expectations associated with it, its been a while since an Ajith film had me counting down the days to its release. But that's exactly what I'm doing for Billa, which is releasing tomorrow. The film's history, cast, technical team, photos, music and trailer have combined to generate a whole lot of expectations and its definitely the film I've most looked forward to since Sivaji.

Billa was one of Rajni's biggest hits and is considered a turning point in the actor's career. So naturally, the remake of the film made news from day 1. But unlike Naan Avanillai, the other recent remake of an old Tamil film, the names associatedwith this remake(I think Ajith, Vishnu Vardhan and Yuvan Shankar Raja were the first names linked to the remake) were promising and even exciting. So there were no concerns about the original being blemished.

I think Billa had a fantastic story and screenplay. The story of a mole among the villains, who eventually ends up on the run from both the police and the bad guys, was strong and the screenplay zipped along with superb pace and many twists and turns. The picturization may have aged and the cast may have been weak but I think the story and the screenplay stand up well even today. Thats probably why Vishnu Vardhan has said that he is keeping the basic story intact (Farhan Akhtar tinkeredwith the story for his Hindi remake and I'm not a big fan of the changes. The final twist was surprising at that moment but just doesn't stand up to scrutiny and makes many sequences - like the Khaike Paan Baraaraswala... song - meaningless). If in fact he is keeping the story the same and updating only the presentation, we can look forward to the film having both style and substance.

Billa gives Ajith the best chance of having a bonafide hit in a long long time. While Kireedam did restore some of the shine after the disaster that was Aazhwar, and Varalaaru before that brought him both critical and commercial success, the actor hasn't had a true blockbuster for some time now. I'm hoping that Billa is it. When I wrote about Billa before the rest of the cast had been announced, I said Nayanthara would be unsuitable for the heroine's role since it involved stunts. But the photos of her in that black, figure-hugging dress have made me eat my words(happily!). Slim and trim, she looks the part and I'm hoping that she looks convincing doing the stunts also. Namitha plays Billa's girlfriend in the villain's gang and inspite of claims that she lost weight for the part, the actress looks just as fat as ever. Prabhu plays the commissioner while Rahman plays the Interpol officer chasing Billa. I haven't seen any photos or news items indicating who is essaying the role played by 'Thengai' Srinivasan in the original but a commentor in one of the early posts said that it was Arun Pandian. I'm not too thrilled by the choice but its not a disaster either.

After working with directors like P.Vasu and Perarasu, Billa finally sees Ajith teaming up with a promising director.While Vishnu Vardhan had a disappointing start with Kurumbu, he surprised everybody with the slick, stylish and surprising Arindhum Ariyaamalum. His next film Pattiyal was one of my favorite films of 2006. Though it dealt with rowdies and dadas, it was very stylish, with the sequence where Bharath and Arya practise with guns in the water-logged warehouse being particularly exhilarating. Based on the trailer, he seems to have upped the style and sleekness quite a few notches in Billa. Inspite of style being present in movies like Pattiyal, Lee, etc., the movies were never as stylish and glossy as Hindi movies like Dhoom 2 or even Dus. At the very least, I'm fervently hoping that Billa ends up on par with those movies as far as presentation goes.

Yuvan has presented the old and the new with 2 remixes and 3 new songs in the album. The theme music is easily the pick of the album. It is very cool and the techno orchestration definitely raises visions of a stylish film. My Name is Billa... and Vethalaya Pottendi... have been remixed with modern sounds and new lyrics. As is usually the case with older songs, our familiarity with the old music makes it seem like the new music doesn't really gel with the song. It might just need more getting used to. Seval Kodi... is a generic song but some of the bits do sound catchy. Sei Edhavadhu... and Naan Meendum... are the my favorite songs in the album.

Let's hope this Billa turns out to be just as big as a hit as the older one and ends up as a landmark film in Ajith's career too...

34 Comments:

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Naren's said...

Reporting from bangaloe....BILLA is ROCKING the city.......

 
At 11:41 PM, Anonymous magesh18 said...

Hi,

Just read the review on Sify.com. Sify says the film rocks. The most stylish film in tamil film industry.

Looking forward to see it sometime

Magesh

 
At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Senthil said...

The film is just ok. The film is stylish and Ajith looks cool. Apart from that, there is nothing much to say about other aspects. Yuvan's BGM is not upto the mark. Ajith fans may like it, have to see how the film is liked by others.

 
At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Ink Blot said...

its possible Arun Pandian is playing Thengai's role... he is rather close with the higher-ups at Ayngaran International...

 
At 8:40 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

I could care less about Billa and all the pre-release hype. I hope the other 2 movies Evano Oruvan and Kalloori do well, they seem to be different from the usual masalas.

 
At 8:49 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

By the way both rediff reviews have panned Billa.

 
At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came back from watching Billa, it is just a ok movie. As Senthil mentioned Ajith fans may like it, for most of others it will be a DVD movie.

 
At 11:56 AM, Anonymous pravien said...

The movie was ok.

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if u have watched the old movie this wud be definitely disappointing . There is no natural take in the film.Everything seems artificial. Here it is more style than substance. Vishunu have handled the songs poorly.First half was slow.

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Overall its a ok movie . Ajith fans may not be disappointed. Neutrals also may see it once. But comparision with old billa is definitely inevitable and this film surely fails in that.

ajith n nirav shah rock....vishnu fails to an extent......

not sure how well teh movie wud do in B & C ....

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and wat is the obseesion with sunglasses in the film ????? even when nayanthara swims n comes to kill billa she is wearing sunglasses.

 
At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give this Billa a pass.. 2007 has not been kind for Ajith.. All 3movies including 2 remakes have flopped..
May, the new girl in 2008 bring him success..
Vani Vijay

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you guys seen the new Ajith with pot belly & gray hair/beard ?
I was really shocked to see him at the premiere of Evano Oruvan..
Sangeetha

 
At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Prin said...

I saw Billa, yesterdya it ROCKED.

Nirav Shah, Anu Vardhan and Vishnuvardhan walk away with the major credits.

[Btw], a character is missing [!]

 
At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rediff has created much hype for this movie. But they teared it apart in their reviews. So waiting for your review...

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

I'm curious about this movie too...

I'm totally digging "Vethalaiya pottendi" song... esp listening to it in the car while driving adds to lotta fun.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger skanda said...

For the first time, not been able to watch a hyped film on the first day show. All shows have been sold out through. Probably can catch the movie on saturday onli

saw the reviews on Rediff, after reading it, made me less anticipate bout the movie. The horror's of Farhan Akhtar's "Don" is coming back to me.

 
At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe most of you read the reviews from sify, indiaglitz and rediff. Sify just sucks up to Nayan and rediff reviews are high school projects

Kumar

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Naren's said...

People fail to see the limitations under which Vishnu Vardhan and team had worked to make billa...and they succeed largely....though the director does falters a bit in handling the way the songs were choreographed (itz actualy trademarked vishu vardhan style which necessarily doesn fit into the movie) and some big time falter of missing out logic towards the climax-the diary being replaced with a pen drive and the otherwise technocrati people fighting fr a pen drive seems so silly, especialy given the fact that the target is clearly the multiplex and A centre audiences.MY name is billa song is awesomely shot and is easily the pick of the movie...and so are a coupleof more terrific scenes....Ajith is far far far far better than all the movies of his entire career. UNdeniably the most handsome of the existing lot and always having had the aura of screen presence , billa projects him in all right angles and hues and he is so cool to be watched..And Yuvan, not much to say but that he is the ultimate lifelineof the movie..remove him and billa is nothing...for a movie with so less dialogues ...Yuvan Rocks billa....Last but not the least comparisons are inevitable and in all Ajith is no match to thalaivar's histrionics...but still times have changed and standards have changed...Go watch it fr being a spectacular treat of Audio visual ....

Mr.Vijay , i am amazed by which standards you caegorize a movie..u discard billa and accept kallori without any premise of your own. Having seen both the movies, both are on different scales and genres and billa definitely serves more than what it promosed . And Kallori also falters big time in many aspects, esp the climax.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Naren's said...

And the worst mistake of billa was the shameless ripping off of the climax from Al Pacino, Colin Farrel starrer "The Recruit"..it all suddenly turns silly.

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh no this is gonna be one of those ajith fans vs ajith slammers post. god save us

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

all, just came back from the movie. review should be up sunday or monday :)

ink blot, no arun pandian's not playing the role :)

vijay, saw 'evano oruvan' among the 2 movies u mentioned. different but no classic :)

skanda, looks like i'll see this one b4 u for a change :)

Kumar, so which reviews do u read? :)

 
At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB..i read your reviews and Baradwaj Rangan's :) Ofcourse, I take your posts on Rajni with a bucket of salt!

Kumar

 
At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naren..I am curious to know what the "limitations under which Vishnu Vardhan and team had worked to make billa" were. Since Vishnuvardhan "chose" to make the movie, all I care about is the end product.

Kumar

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger skanda said...

Sorry Balaji, think have beaten u again in watching the film. But i was kinda disapointed with film. First and foremost, the movie should not have been set in Malaysia. It's so boring when the action takes place near the KL towers or the Twin Towers. Cinematograph has to be blame for this. Also the film is 20 minutes too long. The film should have ended when identity of the "superboss" is uncovered. But then stretched for unnecesary song towards the end.

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sangeetha, I agree Ajith is old now.. Guess he's following the footsteps of his mentor Rajni
Kamna

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji , awaiting your review eagarly ....went to the movie so happily after watching the trailer with thala looking stunning , the opening , songs etc but was kinda ( say a lot ) dispoointed with the film. The film lacked substance . No thrill ( maybe its coz of a remake ) . No character build-ups ...too many logic loopholes....( how did prabhu came tok now abt velu , opening intro scene where the gangsters look so dumb in looking upwards and the mother of all things the pen drive thingy).

Also they shud have had the JJ ( is it correct ) character. It wud have added more substance to the movie .

One more thing , doesnt the Super boss of all 'Jagdish' know there is a Ctrl + C and Ctrl + v in the computer..if billa was having the pen drive cud he have not amde a copy of it and give it to him..are we so dumb ?? or the superboss searched by the interpol is so dumb ???

why is he angry wen the pen drive got corrupted ??? isnt it only good for him ?? i fail to understand this things ..somebody plese throw siome light in to this ....

the film amy become a hit but being a die hard thala fan am disapoointed . maybe was expecting too much from the movie.

 
At 9:26 AM, Anonymous fans said...

the movie is hit .
first of all malaysian background(rainy dull climate) was very boring . 75% of the movie shot during night time or indoors.
that makes the movie even more dull.
the only saving grace was cinematography nirav shah's , stunt director potential not used . car chase was really good but other action scenes wer just average.

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Billa Sucks big time ( saw the first half ). Very childish, no wonder my kids liked it !

Could sit thru the first half...( There was a blast in IMC6 yesterday ) , Not sure what it was..people walked out scared and me too with my family.

Not sure what happened after that.

Namitha - Has to diet seriously, She doesn't have a waisline and looks like sack of Rice.

Nayanthara - Reminded me of the Mom in the INCREDIBLES. Stupid. Jumping around with Stilletoes!!


Ajit - No opinion. He is an average actor ( with decent looks )

Songs - Big time let down ! Re-recording Pathetic.

Dialogues - Written by an elementary school student ( Looks like).

Technicals - Nothing great.

Waste of money. Can wait for the DVD.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Silambarasan said...

9-Tara was Hot!!! Her costumes revealed more than they hid and boy was I happy!!

This is one hot babe and she ought to show more. Her 2 piece suit and Pokies had the audience panting for more.

Who cares about Ajith anyways? All his movies are so pretentious and fake and are made only for the lunatic fringe.

At least 9-Tara gives us value for money. Way to go 9 !!

 
At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Firm is very good but not excellant. The main attractions are Camera, Ajith, Direction in that order. If we are seeing this as a fresh film, then it is entertaining. But if we have the old Billa in mind and comparing it with this, then we would be able to notice the minuses only I saw both the films back to back(Billa 2007 - saturday night show and Billa 1979 - Sunday morning in KTV). The sequences are same as in the old Billa except the Asokan and Thengai characters. Prabhu and Nayanthara are big let down. No expressions from Nayanthara, only show. Prakashraj/sathyaraj would have fitted in the Prabhu Role as a T.

But Thala is Back to Form. We can expect more in coming years.


P.s: If you notice Ajith/Vijay movies, only either of the one succeeds at a time. So Thala is UP and Vijay DOWN in coming years.

 
At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

balaji how long more must we wait for the review????????

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All vijay fans,
No matter what negative publicity you give for this movie, it'll not work..
The movie is entertaining & will be super hit.. Only disappointment is that it'll not break Sivaji's record.
Pankaj

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anons, review should be up tonite :)

narayanan, i'm curious about the blast. had some friends who went for the sat. night(11.15) show and the show went on as scheduled :)

silambarasan, paerukketha comment :)

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Ganesh said...

balaji save your dollars
give this one a pass

trust me it is really bad.

I went in without any expectation but still its really bad movie.
thumbs way down.

 
At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Silambarasan said...

Pinna Yenna Balaji, Ajith Padam yellam matter kooda illena onnuthukumme layakilla. Same goes for Vijay, Simbu and all Jokers that attempt all sorts of buffoonry in the name of heroism. And they rely on hordes and hordes of "paid" fan club members to display their "Rasigar" Base.

At least with a cleavage-exposing bombshell, What you see is what you get!!

 
At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looks like balaji is enjoying the number of hits that he is getting from people anticipating for the review. machi machi too muchu

 

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