Helicopter parenting is a term that Indian moms may not be familiar with. But explain it to them, and they might end up saying, “That’s just being a Mom, why is it called helicopter parenting?”
This light-hearted comedy, peppered with the right amount of drama and a whole lot of good music (sometimes a bit too much even!), get’s 3 stars from WOM.
Helicopter Eela tells the story of the mother of a 20-something, Eela Raiturkar (Kajol), who – after being abandoned by her husband Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury) to raise their son Vivan all by herself – ends up making Vivan the centre of her Universe. Whether this happens consciously, in an attempt to ‘protect’ Vivan (after noticing all men in Arun’s family died at or before 40 years of age), or as a subconscious coping mechanism, is something that’s left up to the audiences for them to decide on their own. Things get out of hand, however, when Vivan – in an attempt to get his mother off his back – suggests she go back to school and complete her graduation, and Eela ends up in Vivan’s class!
There are a lot of things that director Pradeep Sarkar got right: the Millenial restlessness of Vivan in response to his mother’s smothering, Eela’s desperate and at times ridiculous attempts to get her son to give her some time, and her inexplicable obsession over dabbas! The way Eela hovers and fusses over Vivan depicts with great candour the anxiety that every mother feels over the anticipated loneliness that comes after children start going to college and becoming independent. The movie also has ample tender moments, that have not been overly dramatised. The music is brilliant too, but then when has Amit Trivedi ever been bad?
Kajol’s performance, however, swings on a pendulum – going from genuine to extra from time to time. The plot too weakens when it goes into flashback, and so does the screenplay. The early chemistry between Eela and Arun somehow seemed forced. The nostalgia that they tried to awaken in us, by taking us into an old Rhythm House outlet and pointing at audio cassettes of 90s pop artists, unfortunately, did not wake up. Eela’s musical journey too seemed like it was being shown to us through a rose-tinted filter. We have seen enough Indian Cinema to know that’s not how smoothly things go down.
Coming to the main plot point – Arun’s abandonment of Eela. We’d like to believe that a person who is mature enough to have gotten married to a wonderful up and coming singer, at times being gracious enough to give her career a forward push while putting his own on the line, and to take the decision of fathering a child, would have a mind strong enough to deal with irrational fears – and yet, Arun walks out on Eela.
Another thing that felt like an anticlimax was how Riddhi Sen was hardly used. Anyone who remembers him from Parched will vouch for him as an actor with potential and promise. But somehow, Helicopter Eela failed to use Riddhi to his best abilities.
All in all, Helicopter Eela is an enjoyable watch that moms will connect with. But you are not missing out on much if you don’t go for this one.