Review: Sunita Rao’s lilting ‘Pari Hoon Main’ playing on radio welcomes you to the world of Eela Raiturkar (Kajol). A budding singer of the 90s, she doesn’t live in the past, but her world now revolves around her 20-year-old son Vivaan (Riddhi Sen). She follows him around in the real and virtual world; all the way to his college, where she turns up as a fellow student, too.
It’s an exciting premise and director Pradeep Sarkar sets the stage for a generational confrontation right at the beginning. However, he chooses to spend the first half taking us back into the good ol’ nineties, where Indie Pop ruled music charts and Baba Sehgal’s raps were a rage.
In the first half, writers Anand Gandhi and Mitesh Shah convey the ups and downs in the life of a young couple (Kajol and Tota Roy Chowdhury) with conviction. The film stays on course with light banter between the characters and the story progresses consistently without much melodrama. A fun soundtrack by Amit Trivedi, with quirky lyrics, also adds to the momentum.
Kajol hits all the right notes, be it as a singer on the cusp of hitting super stardom, or as a doting mother. She lights up the screen with an effortless charm. Tota Roy Chowdhury adequately pitches in as her supportive partner. However, there is a visible lack of chemistry between the two. National Award-winner Riddhi Sen, who is acclaimed for his performances in Bengali cinema, pulls off the emotional scenes with finesse, but his comic timing could have been better. Neha Dhupia performs well in her limited role, too. But the film belongs to Kajol, who dominates every frame. Her portrayal of a single mom’s love for her only child is convincing, enduring and deserves applause.
In the second half, director Pradeep Sarkar often comes close to giving wings to his protagonist, but that doesn’t happen till the very end. During this half, the mother joins the son in college and there’s ample opportunity for comedy, but that doesn’t ever play out. While the mother-son conflict is the core of the story, their confrontational scenes become a tad too repetitive.
Overall, Helicopter Eela is a fun ride that manages to land safely despite some turbulence. Watch this simple and endearing tale of motherly love with your mom in tow.
Story: Based on a Gujarati play ‘Beta, Kaagdo’, Helicopter Eela is the story of a single mother, who makes her son’s well-being, the only purpose of her life. But will she end up losing herself and her son in this relentless pursuit.