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 thriller.
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' numb