Thursday, February 25, 2021

Helicopter Eela: Review

Kajol's over-the-top Eela act

Reading Time: 2 minutesStarring Kajol, Riddhi Sen
Directed by Pradeep Sarkar:
Rating: ** ½ (2 and a half stars)
Seen worse, for sure, this story of an over-possessive mother and her stifled son has some glorious moments of remonstration, repartee and rumination between Kajol and that engaging young Bengali actor Ridhi Sen. In this loose and baggy adaptation of a Gujarati play by Aband Gandhi, they play the mother and son with rollicking relish. 
Sadly the script doesn’t support the Kajol-Ridhi camaraderie beyond a point. And after a solid start the plot crumbles helplessly to the ground writhing down there in sheer helplnessess as an opportunity to pin down a solid film on a mother-son bonding is squandered away in irrelevance, superfluousness and disharmony.
Speaking of disharmony, a lot of the film’s aspirational drama originates from music. The songs though not discordant, add nothing to the plot.
So what gives, really? The problem in Helicopter Eela is not one of a moral grounding. The statement on paranoid parenting comes across rather strongly through Kajol’s persuasive performance. But I wonder why an actress of her caliber must ‘act’ every second! Her performance is an uninterrupted breathless showcase of her expressions. To watch her make a dozen faces in every sequence is a tiresome exercise after a point.
Riddhi Sen as the over-powered son is far more controlled. In a film that often goes for the shrill, Ridhi is pitch-perfect.
Tragically there are no other outstanding performances to give the plot that essential push towards a sustained engagingness. The film is interesting only in spurts. This is a pity, really.
A more controlled treatment of the interesting plot would have served director Pradeep Sarkar’s purpose well. The direction is surprisingly lazy, specially after the mid-point when Kajol’s Mom act is taken kicking and screaming into the college campus.
Kajol hardly looks like the mother of a grown-up son. Never known to be a vain actress she is shown to be constantly in full makeup even when her character is at home waiting for the beloved son to return from whatever fun things he does with his life.
Another well-known Bengali actor Tota Roy Chowdhary has a deplorably sketchy role as Kajol’s husband. Tota’s character just ups and leaves the plot because-get this-men in his family are known to die young.
The same goes for this film which promises to be another Tumhari Sulu (there is Neha Dhupia to remind us of the other film). It finally ends being a half-finished though not entirely unwatchable film. Such a pity.
By Subhash K. Jha

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

former liberal staffer dhanya mani (1)

Dhanya Mani on speaking out: “It felt like a moral imperative”

  Trigger warning – sexual harassment The disparity between women and men in every workplace across Australia is well understood, but less understood is the disparity...

Rowing champ Gauri Kotera

  With a streak of wins behind her, 14-year-old Gauri Kotera is now among the top five rowers under 16, in the state of NSW. The...

Raising guide dogs – at home

  As the clock struck midnight this past New Year’s Eve, the Bhandari family in Sydney celebrated in a rather unique way: taking care of...
driving school instructor, sexual harassment

“Hard kisser or soft kisser?”, my driving instructor asked me

  Trigger warning - sexual harassment I needed to pass my driver's test because my learner's license expires in April. As someone who is employed full...

Review: The Big Day (Netflix)

  Reality shows about weddings are nothing new if you consider the success of productions like Say Yes to the Dress, Say I Do, and...