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Helicopter Eela Movie Review – This one’s a choppy ride
It’s always a delight to see Kajol on screen, and her protective nature is sure to strike a chord with mothers. However, in certain scenes, her over-the-top act will make you feel that she has straight walked out of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kajol and Riddhi Sen
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Cast: Kajol, Neha Dhupia, Riddhi Sen
On paper, Helicopter Eela might have appeared as a solid idea — a single parent who resigns herself to raise her son and in the process, loses her sense of identity. But the story, which is adapted from the Gujarati play Beta, Kagdo, gets buried under an avalanche of narrative clichés.
From reminding him about his dabba (tiffin) to listening in on his phone conversations, Eela (Kajol) is a strong advocate of helicopter parenting. Keen to spend time with Vivaan (Riddhi Sen), mommy dearest doesn’t think twice about enrolling in his college, completely oblivious that she is perhaps suffocating him with her excessive interest in his life. This leads to a heated confrontation between Vivaan and Eela, which ends with the youngster walking out of his house. Alone and broken, Eela then embarks on a journey to rediscover herself.
The first half is spent in tracing her background — the movie infuses a dose of nostalgia, as the viewers are taken back to the days of indie-pop music. Watch out for Shaan, Illa Arun, Baba Sehgal and Anu Malik, who are all part of Eela’s journey as a singer. Her rise in the world of music is also accompanied by her love life blossoming with her long-term boyfriend Arun. There is even a lame joke where a VJ says, “Ila Arun, meet Eela and Arun.” The hurried pace barely gives viewers time to invest in the characters as we see Eela tie the knot with Arun, her pregnancy, her husband deserting his family for a flimsy reason — all in a matter of few minutes.
Watch the trailer here:
It’s always a delight to see Kajol on screen, and her protective nature is sure to strike a chord with mothers. However, in certain scenes, her over-the-top act will make you feel that she has straight walked out of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. National Award winner Sen, who makes his Bollywood debut, shines through the film as the frustrated teenager who can’t seem to find a middle ground with his mother. Neha Dhupia as a no-nonsense teacher deserves a mention.
Much of the writing is predictable and the dialogue gets downright hackneyed in places.
Sure, the narrative has its share of powerful moments, but they are so few that you can count them on your fingers. The scene where Eela’s husband Arun returns after over a decade, only to find that the mother-son duo has built their own universe which doesn’t feature him, is bound to stay with you. I wish director Pradeep Sarkar and writers Anand Gandhi and Mitesh Shah would have given us more of such loving moments. Eela’s journey of self-discovery is hasty and not wholly believable, and unfortunately, this helicopter has a crash landing.