Billa-2-whats-right-and-whats-not

Billa 2 is receiving mixed opinions in its first weekend. While the equivocal opinion is that the movie has something for everyone, there is feeling that all the expectations from this grand prequel have not been met. Of course, meeting expectations is a humungous task because their depth is unfathomable. However, there are certain things that one thinks could have been done better in Billa 2. Here is an analysis of what works in Billa 2 and what does not.

What’s right?

There are a lot of good things about Billa 2.

1. The characterization
Foremost among them is the characterization. Not only David Billa, but each and every character in the movie is well-etched and is given enough space. Be it Abbasi, Dmitri, Annachi, Koti etc. All the players in the movie have been well thought out, except perhaps the ladies. Strong adversaries are the most important elements in a movie that showcases its protagonist as unbeatable. Chakri Toleti and team succeed in creating strong villains in the form of Abbasi and Dmitri. The best thing about Abbasi’s character is the way it ends; he refuses to bow down to the man who has defeated, instead choosing to die off his gun – really a ‘don attitude’.

2. The Graph
How does an ordinary man become a Don? Not because he aspires to in the first place. But, it is circumstances that force him to take that path; of course, he is a willing traveller on that path. The circumstances and sequence of events that pave the way for his growth in the world of crime is plotted quite seamlessly. We have seen many movies where there is a montage song with the don running around, climbing stairs, shooting random people and by the end of the song, he is the king of the underworld. Billa 2 avoids that kind of a cliché and shows a series of incidents, which look very plausible, that ends up with him helming an empire of crime. Of course, there is a montage song, but that’s after he has taken charge as the Don. The way in which the story of his growth has been charted is the best thing about Billa 2; justifying the title of ‘Aarambam’.

3.The Dialogues
We have some killer lines here, the best part being that not a single one attempts to refer to Ajith. In the past, even in Mankatha, there have been dialogues that have directly or indirectly referred to Ajith (or Thala as his fans call him); this departure from characterization has hurt his movies. Here, however, Chakri Toleti, veers away from such temptations. Lines such as ‘Okkandhu vela vaanguravanukkum, uyira panayam vachu vela seyyuravanukkum vithyaasam irukku’ will be used by many people in the coming months.

What’s not right?
Unfortunately, this list too has a few entries.

1.Action and the ‘nine lives’
Chakri Toleti somehow fails to deliver the goods in this all-important department. The way the fights have been conceived leaves a lot to be desired. Almost all fights start with Billa stuck in a seemingly impossible situation, most often, with a gun pressed to his temple. Yet, he comes back and finishes off everybody. In a film where everybody seems to shoot everybody else without a second thought, there seems to be great hesitation in shooting Billa. Its difficult to see why – Billa is not a good Samaritan or anything. Its almost as if Billa has the proverbial ‘nine lives’ of a cat. The way the fight sequences panned out could definitely have been conceived better.

2. Some gaping logic lapses!
In a movie that is quite intelligently crafted for most parts, there are certain parts that really seem low on logic.

Magically healing gunshot!
Foremost among them is what happens in the climax action sequence. Billa gets shot in the chest. He carries on in spite of that – that’s all right. But the bleeding that starts immediately after the gunshot seems to magically freeze through the rest of the climax. At the end, it is just a red patch on the white shirt, as if from a bruise. That’s a blooper when it comes to continuity.

CM is a sitting duck!
If assassinating a Chief Minister was so easy, then half the CMs in India would already be dead. No matter however powerful the don, ordering the assassination of a Chief Minister cannot be so easy. At least, it should take some planning rather than a few guys on a motorbike. It feels more like the assassination of a district collector than a Chief Minister. One wonders whether such a sequence was needed at all.

Out of the blue – on the chopper!
Finally, how did Billa get into the helicopter? He couldn’t have emerged out of thin air! Last we saw of Billa was him walking down the steps in the factory with a huge explosion going off behind him. Meanwhile the train has gone off to some location that is quite a distance away; the helicopter has taken off from somewhere else and intercepted the train. Billa has no chance of being physically present; yet he manages to appear behind Dmitri in the helicopter. How did it happen? Was something edited out?

3. The songs and music
Chakri Toleti seems to be short on ideas when it comes to picturising songs. It almost seems to be a constant pattern to have a bunch of girls dancing, most often in a disco setting, ‘Madurai Ponnu’ being the only exception. And, the placement of the songs also leaves a lot to be desired. One wonders why that ‘belly dance’ sequence was present at all. Only ‘Unakkulle Mirugam’ leaves a mark with interesting imagery and editing. Also, the BGM disappoints. The kind of work that Yuvan produced for Billa 1 and Mankatha were immensely valuable to those films; Billa 2 doesn’t even get close.

4. The tempo
The most important thing about a gangster flick is the tempo of events that is maintained throughout. The first half seems a bit on the slower side for Billa 2. But, that seems to have been a conscious decision on the part of the team in order to give enough space for the development of Billa’s story. The makers have succeeded in giving a very solid and believable account of Billa’s growth, but had to sacrifice some tempo for this. It was a good enough trade-off, but could work either way.

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