It was with great hype that the film 'Billa' was expected and this is the first of the biggies for this summer. This was being deemed as the Telugu version of a James Bond flick when it comes to style and presentation. How does a thief become a don and try to save the world is the essence. Let us see how that happens.
Set in Malaysia, ACP Krishnamurthy (Krishnamraju) is keen on catching the one and only Billa (Prabhas), the international criminal. Billa keeps escaping each time the cops try to catch him and he is flanked by his gang of girlfriend Lisa (Namitha), henchmen Ranjith (Supreeth) and Vijay (Subbaraju). In their gang joins Maya (Anushka) who is the sister of Vijay and she comes to kill Billa since he has killed Vijay during an incident. Meanwhile, Krishnamurthy finally manages to corner Billa and in the shootout, Billa dies in his hands. In order to know the major deal that Billa has with Rashid Khan (Kelly), Krishnamurthy looks for an idea and he finds Ranga. Ranga (Prabhas) is a petty thief who lives at Vizag and makes his earnings to take care of the two kids. He dreams of having big cars and men following him, he resembles Billa exactly. Krishnamurthy manages to convince Ranga to take up the place of Billa and takes him to Malaysia. Their plan is partly successful but in between, Krishnamurthy gets killed and this lands Ranga in trouble. How does he manage to come out of all that forms the rest of the story.
Prabhas has come up with a very impressive performance and his act as Ranga was more impressive than Billa. However, he suited the role of a stylish don. Anushka gave every penny's worth with her bikini act and the glamour show. Namitha competed equally with Anushka and showed her voluptuous sex appeal. Supreeth looked evil enough, Rehman was stylish but he could have been more intense with his performance, Krishnamraju was not upto the mark and perhaps he is a miscast to this role. Ali came and went without any comedy, Jayasudha was barely visible. Hansika was sweet in the song.
The film was made more relying on the presentation than the narrative aspect. Dialogues were dull, the script was written without much masala, screenplay could not elevate the movie. Music was just average and there were only two songs that were worth taking home, cinematography was good in parts. Editing was sharp but sometimes it kind of created too short a sequence taking away the feel. Art department came with good settings while the stunt scenes were also impressive, costumes were perfect to each character.
Meher Ramesh has come up with a storyline that is familiar but then it appeared that he was unable to handle the slick approach. Though his earlier venture 'Kantri' had those impact points, it was missing in Billa. The film could have taken off on a high voltage opening and instead it came across as a rather disconnected and stale start and Ramesh has to take the responsibility for it. However, few instances showed his brilliance but then he could have been a lot better given the budget and the infrastructure he was given. It came across as a rather amateurish presence in few places.
The film could have been a super hit if only the script was handled very well and the dialogues were written with more passion and fire. The first fifteen minutes of the movie was hardly anything and it takes a while for the actual momentum to pick up. To be honest, the real story begins only in the second half and the plot gets life after the arrival of Ranga. Even the bikini act and action sequence of Anushka was not that sensuous but her beautiful presence kind of made up for it. The film was made with a high budget and the money could have been used in a very efficient manner to create a proper blockbuster. But that is not happening with 'Billa' and it will be an above average visual treat at the box office.
It is stylish, visually rich. Not much in content and depth though.
Cast: Prabhas, Anushka, Namitha, Rehman, Krishnamraju, Supreeth, Kelly
Dorjee, Hansika Motwani, Subbaraju, Ali, Jayasudha etc
Banner: Gopikrishna Movies pvt ltd
Music: Mani Sharma
Director: Meher Ramesh
Producer: Narendra, Prabodh
Release date: 03/04/2009