What's in a name?

Much hue and cry was made out of the SRK starrer film title Billu Barber. But are all barbers complaining? Arifa Gani tries to find out.

entertainment Updated: Feb 19, 2009 18:32 IST
Arifa Gani
Arifa Gani
Hindustan Times

Sir joh tera chakraya ya dil doba jaya, a song from Guru Dutt's Pyaasa in 1957 by Mohd Rafi, was something which brought into limelight the profession of barbers.

It gave them recognition; was applauded widely by the barber community then.

But same appreciation wasn't showered by the same community on the Shah Rukh, Irrfan Khan flick Billu Barber. Right before its premiere, the entire barber community was up in arms insisting they were hairdressers not barbers. They were neither excited nor pleased to see a movie with their profession as a theme. They were offended to see themselves labeled as barbers.

When I saw the movie, I found the character Billu the barber endearing as he has been shown as an honest man who bears the trauma of being left out but never bows before anyone not even his superstar friend Sahir Khan.

So, why the barbers were so agitated? Do barbers in Delhi have any problem with the character Billu Barber?

Delhi's reputed hair designer Amjad Habib, whose grandfather and father were also barber says, "I was comfortable since the beginning. After so many years, movies which have a wide appeal and portray our real society considered to focus on a barber's life".

He further added that even if the word barber is deleted, the profession will remain the same. Barber is an English word and it matched perfectly with the character's name. I think the people who made an issue out of it aren't honest towards their work and are uneducated. He says it is only attitude and hard work which can change a barber to a designer. He said it could have een a publicity stunt.

Another hair dresser Prashila from Hair and Shanti saloon says, "I have no problem with the word barber, what is there in a name," she says with a smile.

"Nobody among us here has a problem. May be the people who have a problem think that in modern age the term barber seems old fashioned. His colleague Aditya too was of the same opinion.

However Ram ji, a hair dresser at 'Blossom and Kochher' has a different take on the entire issue. He says that hair dressers are of higher rank than barbers. Society always treats barbers as people with low status. Maybe the title would have had a negative impact on our our image so the decision to the change the name was right. But his colleagues dismissed the entire episode as a publicity stunt.

So, Billu without Barber is still a barber and Delhi has no problems with it.

First Published: Feb 19, 2009 13:59 IST