‘Billa’ is good timepass (Telugu film review)

April 5th, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Amitabh Bachchan By Maudgalyan
Film: “Billa”; Cast: Prabhas, Anushka, Hansika, Namitha, Krishnam Raju; Direction: Meher Ramesh; Cinematographer; Soundararajan; Music Director: Mani Sharma; Rating: **1/2

“Billa” the fourth remake of seventies’ thriller “Don” in its third language (Telugu) is cleverly done in a stylish manner.

Prabhas plays the two main characters - the underworld criminal Billa and a look-alike Ranga. He teams up with three actresses - Anushka, Hansika and Namitha in the film.

The music is peppy, dances adequately choreographed and action appropriately filmed on location in Malaysia.

Veteran Krishnam Raju plays Krishnamurthy, a cop on the trail of the underworld don (Prabhas) and bumps into a small-time thief Ranga (Prabhas again) even as the other character is laid low in cold blood. The rest of the movie has been lifted from the two Hindi versions starring Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

The corny line - “It is not only difficult to nab Don but also impossible” - retained in appropriately translated Telugu version is lapped up by the audience.

The original screenplay created by writer duo Salim-Javed, who altered storytelling methods in Bollywood in the early seventies, has been retained in the Telugu version along with its howlers but for part of the action shifting to Malaysia - as seen in the recent Hindi and Tamil remakes of the same film.

A well established international gangster Billa after killing a ratting employee is ensnared by the cops through the endeavours of the avenging girlfriend of the deceased. Cops hire his lookalike Ranga to fit into the diabolically dangerous milieu to start a remote-controlled cat-and-mouse-game to end the menace to society.

Inevitable stunts, tongue-in-cheek dialogues, series of secret rendezvous, raids, peppy music and several tense moments later, the climax leads the audience to believe an incredible yarn’s end.

In double role, Prabhas is adequately credible and the three actresses are good as well.

The proceedings make it obvious Ramesh obviously has seen the original and the remakes dozens of times.

Scenes added in the name of Telugu nativity end up slightly slowing the pace of an otherwise decent remake.

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