Based on celebrated Gujarati play Beta Kaagdo by Anand Gandhi, Helicopter Eela is an ode to both motherhood and womanhood. Worrying is a prerequisite for every mother. They never stop worrying even for a moment. Sometimes it becomes obsessive but there is always a reason for such obsession. It’s hard for mothers to let go, to start living life for their own selves. That’s the film’s message. That for their own growth, parents need loosen the strings tied to their children and just let life be.
Eela (Kajol) is talented singer married to copywriter husband Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury). She’s a mother of young son, and looks poised for great things. But at around that time, a cousin’s death pushes Arun into a mid-life crisis. He decides to leave his wife and child to find himself. That means Eela has to fend for her son alone. She lets go of her singing career and opens a dabba business, and becomes increasingly possessive as her son grows up. When Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) is in college, she decides to join it herself to finish her education. Vivaan has enough of the suffocation and tells her so. He wants her to make something of her own life and pushed to the wall, she decides to take stock of herself and starts on a journey of self-discovery.
Since it’s a comedy the treatment is kind of over the top but the issues Helicopter Eela raises are serious indeed. That parents too need to re-examine their lives and push for betterment is a new concept in Bollywood and one that should be welcomed. We’re all helicopter moms and dads and seriously have to stop roving around our children all the time.
The film serves ‘90s nostalgia with a shovel.
A must watch scene is recreating the launch of MTV India in 1996. Watch out for Shaan, Ila Arun, Baba Sehgal, and Anu Malik living it up at the party. Mahesh Bhatt makes a cameo as himself and Alisha Chinoy is cast as singer Anita, whose Ruk ruk ruk gets remixed by Eela and makes her famous. It’s original songs, in particular the comic Mummy ki parchai and the emotional Yaadon ki almari work as well. Kudos to lyricist Swanand Kirkire and composer Amit Trivedi for that.
The film rests on Kajol’s reliable shoulders. As Eela, she does everything that’s required for the film. She makes the years roll away as a frothy teenager in the first half and gets her expressions right as a Tiger Mom later on. Riddhi Sen matches her histrionics in every frame they are together and it’s their mother-son chemistry which makes the film believable. Toto Roy Chowdhury makes the most of his underwritten role and Neha Dhupia offers support as the sassy drama teacher.
Watch the film for some fierce acting by Kajol, who given her enormous talent should be getting more author-backed roles. Take your parents along as well – both parties might learn a thing or two…
|CAST:||Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Neha Dhupia, Zakir Hussain|
|DURATION:||2 hours 9 minutes|