Enable Javscript for better performance
Producer Dinesh Vijan: Ayushmann Khuraana Amar Kaushik Bala is an original film, I have nothing to e- Cinema express

Producer Dinesh Vijan: Bala is an original film, I have nothing to explain

The Maddock Films founder and director Amar Kaushik on the plagiarism charges against Bala, using humour sensitively, and the ‘Kanpuriya’ flavour of the film 

Published: 05th November 2019

Last year, director Amar Kaushik made his feature debut with Stree. The film was a blockbuster and revived the horror-comedy genre in Bollywood. A sequel was teased, though Amar signed on to direct something entirely different for his next. His new film, Bala, is a comedy about a man suffering from premature balding. Ayushmann Khurrana stars as the titular Bala/Gaurav Rawat, a salesman who is embarrassed about his hair and is adopting every possible remedy to grow back his mane. Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam play the female leads, with supporting turns by Saurabh Shukla, Abhishek Banerjee and Jaaved Jafferi. 

Amar was initially attached as a creative producer in Bala. However, over multiple meetings with potential directors, he realised the personal touch he could bring to the film. “I had gone through a phase of premature hair loss and faced similar ridicule,” he says. “People would make fun of me behind my back. Slowly, I understood the social stigma attached to other physical attributes, from skin-colour to height to body shape. These attributes are brought up to damage your self-confidence and pull you down in life. No one ever talks about the good qualities of a human being.”

The trailer of Bala packs several jokes about a man struggling with hair loss. Amar assures the film is entertaining without being insensitive. “If you look at Stree, it had a lot of humour and yet the message shone through. Similarly, comedy is just one of the elements in Bala. My effort with any film is to tell a story honestly while keeping the proceeds entertaining. As a filmmaker, you cannot always shout and preach to your audience. You have to enter their system and explain yourself in a relatable way.”

Stree was set in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh. Bala sets base in Kanpur, one of the largest cities in Uttar Pradesh, known for its textile and leather industries. Amar moved to Kanpur when he was 10 years old and is well-tuned to its local flavour. “My father was a ranger in the Indian Forest Service, so we moved around a lot. My debut short film, Aaba (2017), was set in Arunachal Pradesh, where I was born. While working on Bala, I wanted to give it a distinct ‘Kanpuriya’ treatment. We have brought out the local lingo, customs and landmarks. The famous Ghanta Ghar crossing is glimpsed in the trailer. As a kid, I would sneak out and sit under a railway bridge. I have many memories attached to that structure, which we have used in the film.”

Bala was accused of sharing a similar storyline to Abhishek Pathak’s Ujda Chaman, which was released last week. Plagiarism claims were also made by two other filmmakers separately. Producer Dinesh Vijan, who has bankrolled Bala under his banner Maddock Films, says he trusts the audience to gauge a film’s originality.

“I have seen the South Indian film (Ondu Motteya Kathe) which Ujda Chaman is based on. We have nothing similar to that film,” Dinesh says. “I believe that when the dust settles, people will see our film for what it is. Bala is not just about a bald man and a dark girl. It’s a film about loving yourself. I have nothing to explain other than we have made an original film. I can say on record that Bala is one of the best films we have made.”

Maddock Films hit it big with this year’s Luka Chuppi. They also produced Arjun Patiala and Made In China. Their slate for 2020 includes Angrezi Medium, Shiddat, Mimi and Imtiaz Ali’s untitled next. Dinesh is also reuniting with the Badlapur-duo of Sriram Raghavan and Varun Dhawan for a biopic on Indian war hero Arun Khetarpal. Additionally, the company is extending its horror-comedy universe with Roohi Afza, Munjha and Stree 2. Dinesh says, “Maddock is a filmmaker-driven company. As a studio, we do not believe in multiple film deals. We believe in finding and developing exciting content, and providing them to our directors. That’s our only math.”

Related Articles


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.


What do you think is the best Indian remake so far?

Laal Singh Chaddha
Bang Bang
Dil Bechara
Girl on the Train