Disclosure: I’m an ardent Thala fan.
pre·quel /ˈprēkwəl/: Noun: A story or movie containing events that precede those of an existing work.
Perhaps Chakri Toleti should have learned this before writing the script but now it’s too late. The Godfather Part II was a prequel. X-men Origins was a prequel. Star Wars Prequel Trilogy was a prequel (a bad one though). What about the most anticipated movie of this year with the ever-stylish and charismatic hero and a franchise that knows no bounds?
Yes. It does have Jagdish, Ranjith, and of course, David Billa. But a prequel requires more than just the characters to be complete. A prequel should be such that every little thing that happens in it must lead us to the original movie. Billa II (A) (the censor certification might be deceptive) is a rise of a Don, but not the rise of David Billa.
There have been many gangster flicks in Tamil. But none was celebrated as much as the Billa franchise. And the reason for that was because of the way every little thing was handled. Even if it’s an errand where they have to collect something from someone, they do it with a panache. It was that attention to little things that brought Billa its cult following. That is squarely missing in Billa II. The only scene that was a little close to Billa’s standards was the scene in the second half where he kills his head Abbasi.
The screenplay was too ambiguous. The movie was more like separate incidents taken from Billa’s early life that were pointlessly glued together. The incidents didn’t have any significant connection between each other. When each scene is separated from the movie and watched, it might interest many. Chakri Toleti has combined these scenes in such a way that even someone with zero knowledge on writing a screenplay would find it ugly.
Having shown Billa as a man who is not only known for his don-ness but also for his highly charming and magnetic looks, Ajith could have at least taken an effort to look like someone who is younger than the one who we saw five years back. But his intentions to earn his bread without shedding much sweat might not be appreciated by many. The much hyped helicopter fight fails to make an impact as usual. It looked like it was added just to market the movie.
Chakri Toleti was known for coming up with a cast in such a way that makes people think that no one else would have fitted for that role more perfectly. He proved this in his previous movie (maybe Kamal helped a little). That seems to be missing here. The cast was too ordinary. In a movie like this where at least a thousand people are killed with lots of blasts and gunshots, the man who is projected to be responsible for that must at least look like someone who is capable of accomplishing such things.
Nowadays, having heroines in movies and not really making the best out of them, and having a couple of non-sync songs seems like a given. I won’t say that Parvathy Omanakuttan and Bruna Abdullah were denied enough screen space. At least they had a scene where they were killed (compare that to movies nowadays where one cannot find the difference between heroines and cameos). Just like Chakri Toleti sanely avoided using much humour knowing that it won’t work for a gangster movie like this, he should have avoided some songs too. Not even a single song seemed to help the pace of the movie except for Unakkulle Mirugam. It’s unique, because of Red Epic Camera.
One of the major assets or rather the only asset of the movie other than Yuvan’s BGM and of course Ajith, is the dialogues by EE. Raa. Murugan and Mohamed Zafar. I won’t call the punch types, but most of them were powerful and brilliant (a rather unique combination that is usually not found). The movie doesn’t impress much, but the dialogues deserve mighty appreciation.
Undoubtedly, the film is technically very sound. Every single person in the technical crew has done his job well except for the editor. Even if the screenplay is ambiguous, a good editor should be able to come with an output that is at least watchable. Suresh Urs has failed in this respect.
Yuvan, who is known for his background scores just like his father, does not fail to impress. Without his music, Billa II could have been much worse. The songs, as stated before, could have been avoided in spite of them being massive hits. If Chakri Toleti had made Yuvan concentrate just in his BGM, who knows, we might have got another Aaranya Kaandam (as fas as the music alone is concerned).
Many might say that Billa II might have turned out better if it had been written and directed by someone else. But some things in Tamil Cinema are better left untouched at least for now. Just now the audience are becoming matured enough to accept movies like Vazhakku Enn 18/9 and Aaranya Kaandam. Imagine these films releasing a decade ago. The prequels and sequels might take some more time for people to accept and understand and until then, lets hope no one tries something as dumb as Billa II.
Billa II – Exclusively for Thala fans