Film: Helicopter Eela
Cast: Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Neha Dhupia, Kamini Khanna, Zakir Hussain, Mahesh Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Annu Malik, Ila Arun, Shaan, Baba Sehgal
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Rating: * *
Scriptwriters Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi attempt a Roast on the Gujarati play Beta Kaagdo, but Director Pradeep Sarkar’s ill-informed delineation of an obsessively hovering single mother Eela Raiturkar (Kajol) and her attempts to overprotect her teenage son Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) borders on the ridiculous. And it’s never funny.
This is a film where Kajol hams it in thick, hard and relentlessly, leaving little room for subtlety or craft. Kajol’s charismatic spontaneity gives way to forced ebullience here. Eela is a wannabe singer who does the odd modeling assignment to keep her home fires burning. Her reticent boyfriend Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury) refers her name for a jingle and later on as a dummy singer. But these assignments don’t amount to much – other than a lead-up to composing and singing for Mahesh Bhatt, no less. But a threat from the underworld puts paid to that hope too, so Eela decides to get married and have a baby.
A few years later, her husband decides to vamoose and Eela is left bringing up her toddling son all alone. A decade later, Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) a strapping teenager now, has to put up with Eela running circles around him and even joining his college and class to complete her unfinished education. The 90’s Bollywood score with remixes and rehashes fail to arouse interest. The attempt at a non-linear narrative is more fractious than depth defining. Even the editing and cinematography aren’t distinctive enough.
The scenario had great comic potential but under Sarkar’s sloppy helming, we only get a steady stream of over-the-top hyper-parenting that is neither interesting nor entertaining. Every sequence appears forced and illogical here. There’s no way anyone could empathize with Eela or her obsession because there’s no other note to her. Tota Roy Chowdhury is ineffective and Kamini Khanna as Eela’s supportive mother-in-law sounds like she has a speech defect so it’s largely up to Riddhi Sen and Neha Dhupia to steady the steadily sinking ship. Unfortunately, Kajol’s loud act is so overpowering that even their subtle talents get drowned out in the cacophony!