Director Meher Ramesh’s Prabhas-Anushka starrer Billa is the fifth remake of 70’s Bollywood thriller Don, starring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. After Don was released in Hindi, the film was remade in Tamil as Billa with superstar Rajinikanth in 1980. Later, the same was remade in Telugu with NTR. In 2006 and 2008, the modern version of Don was remade by Shahrukh Khan in Hindi (Don 2) and by Ajith in Tamil (Billa). Notably, all Don movies were super hits in the history of Indian cinema and Prabas’ latest Telugu film Billa may not be an exception!
Does Billa actually need a story introduction? Meher Ramesh’s Billa is exactly like Shahrukh Khan’s Don or Ajith’s Billa. The story begins with ACP Krishnamurthy (Krishnamraju), who is very keen on catching the one and only underworld criminal Billa (Prabhas). Billa keeps on escaping whenever the cops try to catch him. He is flanked by his gang including girlfriend Lisa (Namitha), henchmen Ranjith (Supreeth) and Vijay (Subbaraju). Maya (Anushka) joins their gang; her only intention is to kill Billa, since he killed her brother Vijay.
In the meantime, Krishnamurthy manages to corner Billa and in the shootout, Billa dies. Frantic to learn more about Billa’s major deals with Rashid Khan (Kelly Dorji), Krishnamurthy looks for an idea and finds Ranga (Prabhas), a look-alike of Billa. Ranga, a petty thief, lives at Vizag with two kids. Krishnamurthy convinces Ranga to take the place of Billa and takes him to Malaysia. Their plan is partly successful, but Krishnamurthy gets killed. This lands Ranga in trouble. How he manages to come out of all these problems and nab the criminals forms the rest of the story.
Prabhas, who plays the two main characters (the underworld criminal Billa and his look-alike Ranga), has come up with a very impressive performance; his act as Ranga is more impressive than as Billa. However, he suits the role of a stylish don too. He teams up with three actresses (Anushka, Hansika and Namitha), who compete equally with each other, be it for glamour or style. Krishnamraju’s performance, who appears in a full length character on the big screen after a long gap, is another highlight. Rehman is stylish, but could have been more intense with his performance.
Coming to the technical aspects, the director has taken up a proven subject. However, his narrative is mediocre. The script is not written with intensity and the dialogues miss the punch. Cinematography by Soundara Rajan is above average, but there is scope for more. The film takes off in rather poor style with not much to look forward to, but eventually it picks up in an interesting way, especially in the second half. The music is peppy, dances adequately choreographed and action appropriately filmed on location in Malaysia. This happens to be the remake of the Tamil blockbuster Billa and it must be said that the Tamil version was excellent!
Banner: Gopi Krishna Movies Pvt. Ltd.
Cast: Prabhas, Krishnamraju, Anushka, Namitha and others
Direction: Mehar Ramesh
Production: Prabhod and Narendra