IndiaGlitz [Saturday, December 15, 2007]
Comparisons with the original Billa are inevitable. The 2007 version of
Billa, which was made in 1980 with Rajinikanth in the lead role(s),
is a faithful adaptation in terms of storyline is concerned. It looks
awesome in terms of production values and cinematography. The
performances and stylish looks make the movie a winner on its own merit.
Remake is always a risky affair. No one tries to remake a failure attempt
and hence the success of the original naturally becomes the burden on the
remake. Vishnu and Ajith have guts to take such a risk. They have worked
hard to recreate the magic of original Billa (remake of Amithabh Bachchan
starrer Don) with a different treatment.
The storyline is well known. It’s about a hunt of a dreaded international
criminal Billa (Ajith) by police. The police officer Jai (Prabhu) somehow
manages to corner Billa but he kills him in the process. In a bid to
unearth the whole truth of the gang he sends a mole - Billa look alike-
and tries to capture the entire group through this mole.
Velu, a petty thief, successfully infiltrates into the group and helps
the officer to round them up. But the unexpected death of Jai jeopardizes
their efforts and puts the innocent Velu in danger.
On the side track, you have Sasha (stunningly beautiful and sexy
Nayantara), who wants to kill Billa to avenge her brother’s death. Then
you have Jagdhish, the super boss of the gang (Raguman), and CJ (glam
girl Namitha), the girl friend of Billa, to add shades to the crime
How Velu gets rid of his predicament and how the police eliminate the
gang form the rest of the story.
As mentioned earlier, comparisons with the original are but natural. The
movie does impress in its stunningly impressive making with awesome
cinematography and sleek editing. It outsmarts the original in these
areas. No doubt about it. The car chasing is marvelously executed. Even
the stunt scenes are far better than the original, thanks to Malaysian
stunt master William Wong. Nayantara’s amazing looks are definitely one
of the attractive elements of the movie.
Ajith hasn’t tried to recreate the magical charm of Rajini. Instead, he
has played to his strengths. He, like Vishnu, has given his own version
of Billa without disturbing the soul of the original.
He looks handsome and brings in some intensity to the character. He does
the whole thing in a different style that is appealing to a great extent.
His action in stunt scenes stands out. He has shown his histrionic skills
in the sequence that leads to the fast beat song ‘Vethalaiya Potendi’.
Vishnu’s presentation is stylish and sleek. But the crime thriller lacks
credibility in some areas. The proceedings that follow the death of Billa
and Velu being chased by both police and the gang have not been conceived
well. The way the director deliberately triggers the suspicion in the
minds of the audiences on Anil (Aditya) doesn’t appeal.
Nayantara’s introduction is quite fascinating. But the hype created about
her doesn’t sustain for long. The character hasn’t been developed well.
Namitha’s role is too limited to be remembered. Her effort to sizzle in a
song is not appealing.
Vishnu’s portrayal of Billa is single dimensional. The original Billa had
a sense of humor and an easy way of doing tough things.
Much had been told about Nayantara’s sexy appearance and she justifies
the hype. She flaunts her well toned body without any discomfort. No heroine
in Tamil has sizzled so naturally as Nayantara does in this film. Her
handling of glamour could well redefine the meaning of sex appeal in
Tamil cinema. She dances well in ‘Vethalaiya pottendi’ number but fails
to do so in ‘My name is Billa’.
Prabhu as DSP from Tamil Nadu handles his role with ease. Raguman is
credible while Aditya’s serious looks add flavor to the proceedings.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has done well in background score. The songs sound
good but they cannot be termed as outstanding. The item song is alluring.
Yuvan’s rendition of M.S. Viswanathan’s tunes for ‘Billa’ and ‘Vethalaiya
Pottendi’ are quite average.
Nirav Shah’s cinematography is one of the high points of the film. He has
captured the beauty of Malaysia besides capturing the action amazingly
well. His camera adds meaning and depth to the proceedings. Editing by
Sreekar Prasad is sleek and effective.
Anu Vardhan, Vishnuardhan’s wife has done wonders in costume designing,
particularly to Nayantara and Namitha.
As a whole, Vishnu and co has presented a faithful adaptation with a
stylish and spectacular presentation.