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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Incredible Kajol flies back into Bollywood with Helicopter Eela

Kajol needs no introduction as her name is enough to attract any filmy audience to the cinema. Hailing from a successful family lineage and married to a popular Bollywood actor, the 43-year-old actress is highly successful and for over 20 years, she continues to express and impress us with her calibre as an actor.

Many of us 90s kids have grown up watching the actress. A Friday night trip to the cinema would be a complete treat if there was Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol film releasing. With time, SRK-Kajol has become one of the most iconic pairings of Hindi cinema today.

But when it comes to acting, Kajol has left no stone unturned with impressing us with some remarkable performances especially in formidable roles with movies like Gupt, Dushman and Fanaa, to name a few.

After a three years break, Kajol returns to Bollywood with yet another strong and independent role as ‘Eela’ in Pradeep Sarkar’s Helicopter Eela. She plays a single mother and aspiring playback singer and single mother, who has given up all her dreams to raise her only son.

But now her baby son ‘Vivan’ (played by Riddhi Sen) is all grown up and being a typical young millennial, doesn’t want his mother’s life to revolve around him. However, being an overprotective mother, Eela has other ideas and joins her son’s college to spend more time with him!

Unfortunately, her plans backfire and she suffers a backlash from Vivan for invading his privacy. Will Helicopter Eela manage to salvage her relationship with Vivan and find her calling again? We will have to wait till 12th October 2018 when the film releases.

In a candid interview with Kajol, I, Anuj Radia talk to her about Helicopter Eela, her opinion on current cinema and much more!

Kajol, you’ve been on a roll recently. You launched your wax-statue at Madame Tussauds, became the Indian voice for Elastigirl in The Incredibles and now you’re finally back in Bollywood with Helicopter Eela. I’m sure you’re in a very happy space right now?

I am in a very happy space. I’m very happy to be creatively going around and doing things that I like so I’m happy to be here in London right now, promoting Helicopter Eela. It’s the first day of promotions and I am so excited!

As we mentioned, you’ve been very busy – personally and professionally. So which one factor really persuaded you to choose Helicopter Eela?

I loved the script actually. I heard it about three-years-ago. The film has been postponed for a year and a half nearly two years before we got down to actually completing it. I refused to give it up.

I thought it was such a cool film and I’m going to enjoy it so much – I was bang on right about it. I had such a blast making the film. Pradeep Sarkar (Dada) is directing the film and Riddhi Sen is playing my son, both of them have been absolute gems to work with.

Riddhi is a fantastic actor and dada is such a fabulous director.

He’s worked with some of the best actresses in Bollywood and now you, so it’s almost like coming to a full-circle?

Yes! He is such a wonderful director. As a filmmaker, he has let me grow and do exactly do it my style, but at the same time guide me through the right direction.

Being a doted mother yourself, how much of Kajol is reflected in Eela and how else could you resonate with the character?

I’ve resonated a lot with Eela because she is a typical mom. So all the decisions she makes in her life are about and around her son (played by Riddhi Sen). These things I see, as a mother, doing.

I may be ‘slightly’ less obsessive and OCD, but most of the time I understand where Eela is coming from! (Laughs)



Besides the motherly aspect, how else could you relate with the role?

I understand how Eela gets stuck with the label of ‘mom’. You just get stuck in that label and you don’t know how to get out of it. Sometimes you don’t really want to get out of it.

But actually, it’s in your best interest to find other pieces of your personality that you seem to have lost along the way.

Helicopter Eela is more of a coming-of-age film for the titular character as well.

It’s definitely something about what happens to mothers when the kids grow up and what happens to the tag of ‘mom’ when it no longer useful as earlier?

So, you have to find some parts of you that you may have lost along the way whilst being ‘mom’ per Se.

You play an aspiring singer in Helicopter Eela. Will we get to hear you actually sing in the film?

No chance! Playback singing was made for a reason (laughs).

The film’s director Pradeep Sarkar said that it took him time to grasp the Gujarati tone. How easily did you adapt to the Gujarati tone?

Actually, she turned out to be Marathi! We changed the Gujarati tone completely to Marathi.

There is no Gujarati mother and son in this anymore. Eela Raiturkar is married to a Bengali. Her son’s name is Vivan.

Ajay Devgn is also producing the film and you’ve seen every avatar of his. So which role do you prefer – Ajay the producer, husband or father and why?

I think all three roles. He is an absolutely fantastic producer and he is an absolutely amazing father in both regards. Kudos to him of balancing all the roles in life.

It’s interesting how you Mrs Incredible have married Mr Incredible?

(Laughs) it is really cool and his muscles to match with Mr Incredible as well!

In an interview, you mentioned that it is a good time for ‘good cinema’ in general, rather than just female-centric films. According to you, what is ‘good cinema’ and how could female empowerment be balanced within it?

According to me, ‘good cinema’ is movies that will entertain you, remind you of the good things in life and at the same time, slightly educates you. I think ‘good cinema’ is about films which make you look at things which you would not normally look at in life. A different perspective of things.

I wouldn’t say ‘female-centric’ but I am very happy today that our audience has changed their perspective enough to want to see different kinds of films.

We are not stuck in a rut making films of three genres either comedy, romance or action. We can make all kinds of films which have a little bit of everything in them.

Plus, films nowadays speak to the time, date and day we are currently living in.

If you were ever approached for an all-female cast film like Veere Di Wedding, would you consider doing it?

I’d love to do it! Why not? Like I told you before, my script is my hero. I strongly believe that. I also believe that everybody in a film is replaceable, be it characters or people, but if the script is fabulous, 90% you can’t go wrong with that.

Fans are eagerly waiting for you and Shah Rukh Khan to reunite on the big screen. Any chance of this happening soon?

Currently, no, it’s a dream!

But I’m certain that this dream will soon turn into reality. We cannot wait to see Kajol back in Bollywood with Helicopter Eela in cinemas worldwide on 12th October 2018!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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