Remaking a movie would normally start and end with comparisons. That too, comparisons would only increase by leaps and bounds if the orginial version had the reigning superstar of Kollywood essaying the title character. Kudos to the Director Vishnu Vardhan and the 'Ultimate Star'/'Thala' Ajith, for the confidence and guts to bring out their take on the classic Billa. If the old Billa was a regional trendsetter during its time, the new Billa would take Kollywood to the national level for its technical brilliance and for the overall package.
The story isn’t new and it had come out in three versions already - the two Don’s in Hindi (enacted by AB and SRK) and Billa in Tamil(Rajnikanth). Though Vishnu Vardhan had adopted minor changes to his version in the screenplay, he has done complete justice to the original Billa. With the omission of the character played by Thengai Sreenivasan in the original, the movie is only trimmer; devoid of any emotional moments. No sentiments, no love between the lead pairs (thankfully); this is one rare Tamil movie !
Ajith as the menace Billa and the innocent Velu is apt for the role and there is no one in the industry at present who could carry this role with such finesse. Prabhu,as DCP Jai, after a long hiatus is seen in a meaningful role and does justice to the character. Nayan Tara as Sasha has very little to emote but looks exceptionally good. Namitha as Ajiths girl friend CJ has very little screen presence. The other actors who make their presence felt are Rahman who acts as an Interpol Officer Gokulnath and Aditya who acts as DCP Jai’s assistant, Anil Menon. While the latter is adequate for the role, the former sometimes goes overboard with his performance.
Music by Yuvan Shankar Raja has already topped the charts with tracks like ‘Vethalaye Potthendi’ and ‘Seval Kodi’. The picutarisation of the rest makes you fall in love with the other tracks as well. Yuvans BGM’s is quite fabulous with the chilling theme music that plays quite often. Neerav Shah, as usual, has done his part brilliantly and with his skills, Indian Cinema can expect a new cinematographer turned director very soon. The movie does not lose its tempo at any point and makes the viewer glued to the seat till its end. Sreekar Prasad, responsible for the crisp editing and for maintaining the length of the movie at 2 hrs and 15 mins, is at his best.
However, the person who stole the limelight from everyone is Anu Vardhan who handled the costumes of the movie. Never before did a South Indian movie look so classy and polished on screen. Clothes maketh the man, they say, but here we would have to rephrase it to Clothes maketh the movie. The characters gel with the clothes rather than the clothes getting gelled with the actors. An example is the clothes worn by Nayan Tara; though she wears a bikini, she never looks vulgar in it as her character, arrogant and vengeful, demanded it. The entire costumes, be it for Ajith, Nayan, Prabhu or even for the extras in a shot, makes the movie a visual treat. A commendable work, indeed. The makeup artist Bhanu also deserves compliments here in making the characters look good and non-artificial.
So is the movie that perfect? Well, it has its flaws too. There are some cheesy dialogues in the movie which could have been avoided. In certain scenes, the length of Ajiths sideburns keeps changing and is the same with his paunch too. Also, the choreography isn’t something that is worth mentioning. But all that seems negligible when taking the movies overall presentation into consideration.
Billa is a revelation for the Ajith fans as they had been watching their ‘Thala’ doing only insignificant roles in the recent times. Director Vishnu deserves a pat in the back for coming out with a product that truly lives up to the hype the movie created. It is an example of excellent team work; on and behind screen. Billa is a new experience from the entire South Indian Film Industry that you would not want to miss. It is one of Indias most stylish movie ever !!!