Mostly hov­er­ing: Eela sure knows loud­est

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation -

In a highly emo­tional scene, Ka­jol heads to the pi­ano. Her char­ac­ter, Eela, is a mu­si­cian, so where bet­ter to vent? So far we have seen her sing a Ruk Ruk Ruk remix and Hindi tracks, but now she breaks into an off-key song in English: ‘O Kr­ishna, you are the great­est mu­si­cian of this world.’ Ahem.

He­li­copter Eela is about a girl who ad­mires Baba Se­h­gal, and makes some­thing of her­self as a singer, even if that some­thing is a trivia ques­tion on Kaun Banega Crorepati. “Amitabh Bachchan took my name thrice,” she ex­ults. Now she has a dif­fer­ent ca­reer: Eela Raiturkar is an ob­ses­sive he­li­copter mother.

Direc­tor Pradeep Sarkar has the right hero­ine. Ka­jol’s en­thu­si­asm is in­fec­tious even when Eela is too chirrupy. As a singer, she’s ap­plauded by stars of the ’90s, in­clud­ing Ila Arun, struck by the co­in­ci­dence that Eela’s hus­band is named Arun. One day, this Arun loses his mind to su­per­sti­tion and para­noia, leav­ing Eela and their son be­hind.

Eela’s para­noia is dif­fer­ent. She smoth­ers her son, and I’m sur­prised how rarely our cin­sits ema tack­les this. In In­dia, be­ing a tiger/he­li­copter par­ent is a point of pride, and much should be said — but we must wait for a bet­ter film to say it. Sarkar’s film is too melo­dra­matic to hold any im­pact.

The hu­mour is in­ad­ver­tent. Ka­jol ap­proaches girls in a Mum­bai col­lege and asks if they live in Mum­bai, and records her songs in a stu­dio called Au­to­tune, a dis­arm­ingly hon­est name. This is the kind of film that be­lieves say­ing “LOL” out loud counts as a joke.

The high­light is Neha Dhu­pia as a drama teacher who throws things at those who an­noy her — she misses, on pur­pose — and spends most of her time an­gry-snack­ing. She in her chair like a gen­uine goonda, and chan­nels Dr Strangelove by in­sist­ing she doesn’t want too much drama in the drama club. I’d rather watch a film about her.

It’s easy to be­lieve Ka­jol is too noisy for a li­brary, and the ac­tress does well. The film is flakier, with col­lege stu­dents us­ing the World Book en­cy­clopae­dia, and a young man with a thick Ben­gali ac­cent play­ing Eela’s half-Ma­ha­rash­trian, half-Pun­jabi son. Like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’s in­fa­mously un­plugged elec­tric gui­tars, Ka­jol even con­quers a sta­dium with a song and with­out a mi­cro­phone. This mommy may not know best, but she sure knows loud­est.

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