Bala is the first Bollywood film I’ve watched. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was entertaining and fun.
A disembodied voice introduces the film, sharing how hair is desired, but that beauty can be fickle. Bala was a popular kid who made fun of the teacher for being bald. Karma, being as it is, Bala (played by Ayushmann Khurrana) lost his hair an unusually young age.
A central theme was the dissonance between promoting beauty products while Bala was uncomfortable with his own appearance. He taped paper over the top of his mirror so that he couldn’t see his scalp. As more and more radical ways failed to restore his hair, he finally settled on a hair piece. His career as a cosmetics salesman was going flat until he became well-coiffed and confident again.
Bala created lots of zany videos to woo Latika Trivedi (played by Bhumi Pednekar). Dating a beautiful actress cemented his fears so he tried to maintain his secret. Eventually, he came close to honesty but repeatedly failed in comical ways. It wasn’t until after the wedding that Latika learned about his baldness. She couldn’t accept him and filed suit to have the marriage annulled.
The keywords for the film are beauty, secrets, romance and shame. Bala kept his baldness secret out of shame. He was enamored with beauty, promoting it to his clients, having an attractive girlfriend and longing for the beauty he had as a youth. When the romance fell apart, he was able to release his shame and leave the deceptive career peddling beauty aids. He couldn’t persuade women who wanted fair skin to feel less-than while he was ashamed of baldness.
I enjoyed the light-hearted movie. With so many blockbusters filling the theater, it might be a while before I can see another Bollywood film, but I like what I’ve seen.
Once he started doing things that he was ashamed of, he didn’t want the people around him to find out. He tried to separate the people on one side from the other. If they met, the information could make things awkward.
He decided to pull away from the former group of people because they were the ones that would disapprove of the others. The secrets were growing and the far side became more important and the closer ones were bewildered by his behavior.
As the circle shifted, problems started to pile up. Issues that could be easily solved with an honest discussion, couldn’t get fixed because of the risk of exposure.
The path grew narrower.
Until the secrets were taken out of the darkness, they festered and led to more and more bad times.
He decided to make a change and gradually, the secrets became less threatening. Trust was slowly coming back. The circles realigned and it became possible to move forward again.
Original image: The secret of success…. By Cheryl VanStane [Image license]
Self-castigation: attacking oneself with severe criticism, reproof and punishment.
Before recovery, this can be a way of life. The shame of letting your family down again. The regret of losing a job by acting out at work. Everything is your fault and you can’t get out of it.
It seems that the people around you are not as hard on you as you are to myself. You see all the lies and secrets and know how badly you’ve really been doing. The family is ready to forgive you and your friends just hope you’ll get better. You’re out on your own in your own head and that makes it all worse.
After a while, the self-castigation can become as bad as the effects of the substances or not having them when you need them. If you’re so bad that you can’t even control it when you want to, your shame and guilt don’t have an answer. One conclusion is that punishment and criticism are the responses that make sense.
Once this attitude has taken hold, it takes a long time for it to go away. When you make a small mistake, it reminds you of past big ones. You get support from your friends and you’re glad they’re in your corner. It’s almost as if you have a resentment against yourself and can’t let it go.
It was a big relief when this attitude isn’t your first way to respond to your own mistakes. You talk to people who understand you and believe them when they say you’re doing well and that they are glad to see you or hear from you.
When you’re alone, it’s hard to find a balance, but with friends and people who care giving you support, you can get closer to self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance: To be contented with, appreciate and respect oneself.