Bala is being touted as a comedy but I don’t agree with that completely. Of course, there are moments when you laugh out loud and chuckle at the references thrown at you. But for the most part, I was consumed by Ayushmann Khurrana’s Balmukund and could not help but feel bad for the man who is obsessed with the thought of hair loss. Bala was the ‘comedy’ that reminded me of Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids.
Bridesmaids is often regarded as a comedy, but it is, in fact, the tragic story of a woman who keeps spiralling down until she hits rock bottom. She resurrects right at the end, much like Balmukund. He too keeps going down the rabbit hole, trying one remedy after another to get his life back on track. None of the remedies result in anything fruitful, but Balmukund’s perseverance makes you wonder why he is so invested in something that, for the woke ones, is so superficial?
I remember watching Paul Feig’s ‘comedy’ and throughout, I just wondered, ‘Why is everyone finding this funny?’. In Bridesmaids, Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) misfortunes have begun before the start of the film. And as the film proceeds, she gets one shocker after another – a man who does not care for her (Jon Hamm), her best friend (Maya Rudolph) finding another best friend, a bad housing situation and getting fired. She is so deep in the ditch that even when Rhodes offers her a helping hand, she refuses. Balmukund isn’t that different.
Balmukund’s life is a complete mess. His girlfriend dumps him even before the film opens, his career isn’t going anywhere and as far as his confidence is concerned – it doesn’t exist. And all of this, he believes is because of his hair loss. As humans, we have a tendency to blame external factors for our life’s problems. At one point, he even blames his father’s genes (played by Saurabh Shukla) for his life’s debilitating condition. Just anything to pass the buck! This is what Annie did when she kept blaming Helen for everything that was wrong.
For Bala, much like Fleabag, ‘Hair is everything’. He once had it all, but now with a balding head, Bala has difficulty in accepting his new reality. Of course, this is a film about self-love and Bala in its own preachy way refers to that concept throughout. Things get better for him as soon as he accepts his new reality. His love life doesn’t really soar but as far as his career is concerned, it gets better.
Bala sure makes you laugh, but that humour doesn’t exist just for a few chuckles. Life is a bitter pill to swallow and Bala is aware of that, hence the comedy. Like Balmukund and Annie, our problems exist within us and can only be solved when we take stock of the situation. So when you are laughing with Bala, remember the film isn’t just talking about hair loss. It is, in fact, telling us to accept everything we think we lack and just accept it.
Written by Sampada Sharma |New Delhi | Indian Express