Helicopter Eela

Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Choudhary, Neha Dhupia
Pradeep Sarkar

Eela’s single mom story has been inspired by a Gujarati play by the name ‘Beta, Kaagdo’. But will the writers Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi really manage to pull the essence of the play into a feature film, that too of Kajol’s standards?


Eela (Kajol) is a single mom whose life mission is to keep her son Vivaan (Riddhi Sen) away from harm; and keep him safe and healthy and basically always in her line of vision. The fact that she herself has given up everything to keep her son, she has a blatant disregard for his privacy and space. Eventually, Vivaan wants her out of his curly tresses but his suggestion goes completely awry. Eela ends up joining his college as a student.


Eventually, Eela’s most prized relationship starts turning sour due to her inability to distance herself from her son, and give him some breathing space. There are moments when you as an audience will cringe, will even smile but somehow, the high-pitched mommy misses the strings to your heart….


Pradeep Sarkar’s Helicopter Eela is about the typical ‘helicopter parents’ who hover over everything that their children do, but Sarkar being Sarkar has managed to add some really sweet moments into the mother-son bonding. To begin with, there is a scene where Eela forces her son to speak to some long distant relative, perhaps every parent might have done that at some point, with absolute disregard for their child’s comfort. The scene is dealt with an unapologetic humour that makes you smile along with the entire sequence. The other moments, when Eela finds herself radar-less is also touching. Of course, the confrontation scene between Eela, Vivaan and her estranged husband (Tota Roy Choudhary) is one of the most sensitively dealt family drama you will see in today’s time.


Then you will wonder where the film went wrong… other than the few aforementioned sequences, the film gives a spoof-like feel to the whole script. It is as though the characters are living it from the outside, and not really being a part of the moment. While Eela and Vivaan share a fantastic chemistry, both are high-pitched (which works given they play mother-son) – it’s jarring for the audience when they get together. But let’s give Riddhi Sen his due, not once does he appear annoying or irritating, like most teenagers opposing their mothers appear in movies usually. Full marks to Sarkar and Sen for managing to walk that thin line.


However, Sarkar has insisted on oscillating the script between the past and present and there is absolutely no sense of continuity in the timelines, taking away all the brownie points he earned. There are mistakes and bloopers all over the place making you wonder if the whole Tota Roy Choudhary angle was an after-thought by the writers. Coming back to the oscillating script and its faux pas, while Eela looks gorgeous in her ‘past’ sequences, the same cannot be said about Baba Sehgal, Mahesh Bhatt, Ila Arun etc who play a part in that portion of the script. What’s worse is the fact that in this gimmicky part of the film, where the director has tried to make the audience relive the 90s with a vengeance, somehow the spoof factor gets enhanced and not the nostalgia. What a shame! Because here is a film with fantastic actors, one of the better directors we have in the country and yet, you are not left with anything memorable from the experience.  


Eela the protagonist of the story is supposed to be a singer, who lets go of her budding career at the peak of her time when she has her son. The climax of the movie sees her finding herself once again; unfortunately, Kajol as a singer is shockingly inept. Given as a single mother she hits all the notes perfectly, looking at her appear clumsy as a singer ruins the effect she should have had on the audience. Unfortunately, the music of the film is also very mediocre, which is yet another golden opportunity missed.


On the whole, Helicopter Eela hovers around the vicinity of a good film only to crash land and ruin its prospects.

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