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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Helicopter Eela Movie Review: Kajol Lifts Up the Atmosphere

Helicopter Eela narrates the story of a single mother – Eela (Kajol), an aspiring playback singer, who has given up all her dreams to raise her only son.

But now her baby son ‘Vivaan’ (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 Vivaan for invading his privacy.

Will Eela manage to salvage her relationship with her son and find her calling again? This forms the crux of the film.

After a three years break, Kajol returns to Bollywood with yet another strong and independent role in this Pradeep Sarkar comedy. Filme Shilmy reviews.

A Promising Concept & Story

Helicopter Eela has a feel-good and poignant concept which is relevant for Bollywood, given the recent successes of female-centric yet feel-good films.

The movie’s storyline is promising. It endeavours to show Eela as the singer, as well as the mother.

As a single parent, we see her dedicate the entire life to her son.

But her return to college to complete studies exhibits her inner inhibition to becoming an independent woman – rather than just being Vivaan’s mother.

Initially, one thought the idea of how Eela mixes in with the college kids would be quite interesting.

The Transition from ‘Mom’ to Independent Woman?

It is quite disappointing to see that the whole transition of Eela is portrayed weakly.

Given that Pradeep Sarkar has successfully showcased journies of women in the past, we expected a lot from him in this venture.

We do not see Eela taking studies seriously nor do we witness her attempt at adapting to a new lifestyle.

The audience understands that she is the mother, but it would’ve been nice to see a stronger representation of Eela’s transformation to becoming an independent individual.

There are some loveable and heart-warming moments between Eela and Vivaan.

But where the movie goes wrong is in not exploring the father’s role enough, which leaves the audience wondering what happened. 

Consequently, this leaves a gap in the film’s narrative, considering its importance on the mother and son.

Larger-Than-Life Angles amidst Realistic Setup 

Helicopter Eela seems problematic by amalgamating larger-than-life segments within its realistic setup.

The omnipresence & overprotectiveness of Eela seems exaggerated at times.

Especially when she travels all the way to Lonavala when (young) Vivaan is on a school trip.

Moreover, the gags of the ‘dabba’ got too repetitive to the extent that it becomes irritating.

Kajol Drives the Film Through her Performance

If there is one person who does not disappoint, it is Kajol.

We have seen so many films in the past with the actor in the lead, but not many of them had her character as the central focus.

As viewers, we all have witnessed Kajol’s transition from a successful actor to a dedicated mother.

This personal experience translates well as Eela. At times, it seems quite autobiographical.

Even in a weak film like this, Kajol uplifts the film’s atmosphere with her effervescent performance.

From the humorous to the sentimental parts, Kajol enacts her part with such flair and ease. She is truly incredible!

Riddhi Sen is great as Vivaan. He is cute, looks innocent and has a great screen presence.

In spite of being a youngster, we see him stand by his principles and most importantly, he is not outshone by Kajol.

Both actors share a great camaraderie, complimenting each other well as mother and son.

Neha Dhupia is the college’s concert director. She has a tough exterior, who advises Eela and understands the relationship between her and Vivaan.

Initially, one thought that this character would be well-utilised in helping the narrative to progress.

However, it turns out that this role fizzles out. It is unfortunate to see Neha being wasted like this.

Final Verdict

On the whole, Helicopter Eela misses the boat. The loopholes in the film’s narrative and lack of relatability makes this a weak/forgettable project.

The only (and I mean only) person who makes this movie somewhat watchable is Kajol. She brights up the screen with her superlative performance.

Ideally, this film deserves two stars, but here’s half a star extra for Kajol’s sincerity as an actor. 

⭐⭐.5/5 stars

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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