We have heard stories of the 'ugly duckling', and these always revolve around a woman. She may be dark-skinned, overtly tall, fat or short. But seldom do we see a man portrayed in one of his most embarrassing situations. And that is Baala for you. Bala Mukund (played by Ayushmaan Khurrana) was once a hero in his childhood, with girls swooning over his Shah Rukh Khan-like antics. Least does he expect himself to lose his heroic status by a hair's breadth literally. From Shah Rukh Khan, he turns into Anupam Kher, just like one of the dialogues in the movie. His childhood sweetheart ditches him, people mock his bald look and get into his hair. He falls in love with a model Pari (played by Yami Gautam), who is so prim and proper, never seen with a hair out of place. While he manages to hide his blemish with a wig and impress her, will he muster the courage to tell her the truth? And that forms the crux of the story.

What works:

The message of the movie. Stop tearing your hair out over figuring out how to hide your blemishes. One needs to accept oneself right. Arrey! Humko kyun badalna hai, is another important dialogue from the movie. The scene where Ayushman Khuranna loses his cool and vents his anger blaming his father (Saurabh Shukla) for this hereditary shortcoming highlights his performance. Some humorous scenes when he visits a doctor for hair growth and the doctor asks him to donate his hair follicle from the most unexpected places will make you let out a loud guffaw, especially when there's a reference made to Ayushman's earlier flick Vicky Donor. Ayushman's most ignored friend Latika (played by Bhumi Pednekar) steals the show with her performance. She plays a dark-skinned girl, who is a lawyer, fighting such stereotypical sexist and racist comments that are prevalent in this society, and she definitely does get into the skin of the character. Saurabh Shukla too deserves special mention. The fact that there are no songs except for the Tik Tok videos and the one in the end is totally welcome in this commercial Bollywood flick. More importantly, the movie, though has its melodramatic moments, definitely is devoid of a fairytale ending.

What doesn't work:

Some scenes seem to be brimming with forced humour adding to the unnecessary length of the movie. Cliche'd romance and overdose of SRK moments - right from climbing into the girl's room through the window to declaring his love with open arms. While the sets seem very real and true to the story, the editing doesn't seem as slick. The song in the end - Don't be shy - has absolutely no relevance and I kept wondering how the dark-skinned Latika turns fairer all of a sudden while dancing to that tune. Was she by any chance using the fairness cream Pretty You, that Ayushman was selling as Bala in the film?


I give this movie 2.5 stars. One for Ayushman Khuranna's performance of course. Another for Bhumi Pedneker. And the half is for the wonderful message in the movie. The script fell short of being winner by a few words and a few too many at the end and Ayushman’s Midas touch couldn’t turn it into gold either. But here’s the message, let's love the way we are, and you better love this video too, hit the like and share buttons, despite my 'bad hair' day!