Helicopter Eela Review

Actors Kajol (left) and Riddhi Sen during promotion of their film “Helicopter Eela.” The film has many weak points in script, direction, and the flaccid editing. (photo provided)

AjayDevgn Ffilms and Pen India present “Helicopter Eela”

Produced by: Ajay Devgn, Aksshay Jayantilal Gada & Dhaval Jayantilal Gada

Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar

Written by: Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi

Music: Anu malik, Amit Trivedi & Daniel B. George

Starring: Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Neha Dhupia, Rashi Mal, Zakir Hussain, Kamini Khanna, Tota Roy Chowdhury, Chirag Malhotra Sp. App.: Amitabh Bachchan, Mahesh Bhatt, Anu Malik, Bishwadeep Chaterjee, Baba Sehgal, Shaan, Ila Arun, Ganesh Acharya and others

We all know by now the meaning of the term “helicopter” as applied to a parent: he or she is the drone over their kid(s), the interfering entity who keeps an eye all the time on the offspring(s) to the point of infiltrating their privacy and overstretching parental limits.

Eela Raiturkar (Kajol) is one such (single) mom to her son Vivan (Riddhi Sen). She has a backstory: she was an aspiring singer who let it all go when she fell in love with her lyricist cum promoter Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury), married him and gave birth to a son. Involved before that stage in encouraging her as singer are names like Anu Malik, Mahesh Bhatt and Ila Arun (that’s to make a truly juvenile joke about the pair being Eela and Arun!).

But suddenly in a bizarre turn of events, Arun disappears, as he is convinced that all his family members (males) die between the ages of 35 and 40 (why this is so is another incredibly facile explanation!). Eela takes to managing a ‘dabba’ (lunchbox) catering service and raises Vivan, yet dominates over him. A silly and purposeless sequence is her forcing him to call up an unknown guy whose father, who Vivan had “met” when he was 4, has passed away!

In time, Vivan suggests to momma dearest that she resume her suppressed ambitions-related activities, and for answer, Eela joins her son’s college after brainwashing the principal (Zakir Hussain), who wears an Indian style jacket whereas the college is clearly a missionary institution! It also has mercurial staffer Lisa (Neha Dhupia), who throws objects at anyone who irritates her!

The treatment of the college sequences try hard to make them amusing but just about manage pass marks on occasion. Then there is a small incident involving Vivan’s friend Yash (Chirag Malhotra) that leads to such a severe misunderstanding that he leaves home. What happens next may be real but too tame and non-dramatic for a film. The climax is on the lines of ‘ABCD” et al. but barely convincing, and the film ends as drearily as it began.

Oh, yes, there’s another pointless sequence; hubby returns and is told to buzz off. Right, of course, given his incredibly caddish behavior, but why could not the script have dispensed with him earlier rather than showing him alive but away? Or were writers Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi (yes, the same “Ship Of Theseus” and “Tumbbad” guy) afraid of taking on the additional load of a single parent becoming a helicopter and the resultant issues?

Loaded with absurdities, incongruities and so many weak points in script, direction and the flaccid editing, the film is itself a helicopter in which these three propeller blades do not work, and only the fourth (Kajol) does. Kajol is excellent yet again, and her best scene is her introduction to the class. The gawky and incredulous delight in the beginning in the recording room is superb too. But she does not deserve such a terrible film in concept AND execution, that too from her producer husband Ajay Devgn, who is, however, known to go deviant so often as producer!

Riddhi Sen may be quite real but comes out rather as an ineffectual bore. His song “Mummy Ki Parchhai” has clever lyrics that are not really justified by the script, and his performance lacks punch. Tota Roy Chowdhury’s character, as well as performance, is erratic.

Kamini Khanna is her usual self, and Neha Dhupia is almost in a reprise of her role in “Tumhari Sulu” – without its depth and impact. Zakir Hussain tries his best to be sincere, but aided by his dialogues delivery, his tough stroke slimy image comes in the way, and his character looks incongruous! Among the cameos, Mahesh Bhatt is palpably fake.

This is a film sans purpose or direction. The music is atrocious, and the background score no great shakes. Technically average, the film, on the whole, misses even that mark.

Rating: **

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