For the weekend starting Friday, March 6, the AMC South Barrington 30 is the place for all things Bollywood in the Chicago area. The theater is carrying over Billu Barber and Delhi-6 as well as bringing in two new movies, 13B and Dhoondte Reh Jaoge. The AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville will carry over Delhi-6.
13B is a thriller about a family terrorized by their television set. Fortunately the TV set deals in psychological terror, not the appliances-come-to-life kind of terror from Maximum Overdrive.
Dhoondte Reh Jaoge is about a couple of guys who try to cash in by making a film guaranteed to flop. The plot sounds a lot like the movie The Producers, and the zany look of the film’s website concerns me — filmmakers sometimes mistake “zany” for “funny”.
According to box office returns for the weekend of February 20-22, Delhi-6 earned $602,850 in its opening week in U.S. theaters. Billu Barber earned a total of $698,910 during its first two weeks of release, while Luck By Chance (my favorite of the three movies) has earned only $355,492 after four weeks in theaters. Dev D, which did not open in the Chicago area, has earned a total of only $18,613 after three weeks in theaters.
Abhishek Bachchan’s latest film, Delhi-6, opens in theaters this Friday, February 20. Bachchan plays an American who gets swept up in romance and riots when he brings his ailing grandmother back to India.
He might be the title character, but Billu the Barber gets eclipsed in his own movie by Shahrukh Khan.
Billu (Irrfan Khan) is a poor barber struggling to earn an honest living. The one thing that his wife and bratty kids respect about him is that he knew superstar actor Sahir Khan (Shahrukh Khan) before he was famous.
When a film crew arrives in the village, Billu’s kids quickly spread the word that their dad is a friend of the movie’s hero. Billu, who’s not even sure Sahir would recognize him — even if he were able to get past the actor’s bodyguards — becomes a celebrity in his own right. Suddenly, the barber is showered in gifts and attention from neighbors who want to meet Sahir, to the dismay of Billu and to the delight of his family.
When the story focuses on Billu, the film is an insightful examination of the price of fame. Lara Dutta gives a nuanced performance as Billu’s wife, Bindiya. She’s not greedy, just tired of being poor, so she encourages her husband to contact his old friend.
As the film progresses, most of the insight on fame comes in the form of speeches by Sahir Khan. At those points, Billu Barber feels like a Shahrukh Khan vanity project. The ending is sappy and predictable, right down to Khan’s trademark tears.
If you’ve seen a few SRK dramas before, you might as well leave the theater at the intermission. You already know how the film is going to end.