Kajol wants you to know that she is nothing like the overbearing mother she plays in Helicopter Eela, which releases on September 7. But her Instagram posts do sometimes embarrass her teenage daughter, Nysa, who leaves comments disapproving of her schmaltzy captions to family pictures. “She said, ‘I cannot be associated with this. I am not your admin anymore’,” says Kajol with a laugh. There’s still a lot in common between mother and daughter. “We tend to find a lot of things irreverent,” she says. “We laugh at the weirdest things and bitch a lot together. Manis and pedis do that to you.”
The single mother Kajol plays in Helicopter Eela doesn’t share any manicures and pedicures with her teenager—a son played by the National Award-winning actor Riddhi Sen. Written by Mitesh Shah and Anand Gandhi, directed by Pradeep Sarkar and produced by Kajol’s husband-actor Ajay Devgn, the film looks at a parent’s unconditional love for her only child and its repercussions on the parent-child dynamic. “I hope the film makes parents realise that kids this day and age have definite identities and thoughts,” says Kajol. “Because of the flow of information, they are not as ignorant as we were at their age. They’re much smarter, better read and in a way disconnected too.”
Kajol describes the film as a comingof-age story of a parent. “It’s a lot of dashed dreams and a struggle to find out who you were,” she says. “There are pieces of yourself that you lose once life becomes so all-consuming as a parent... you forget that you liked and did certain things.” In this case, Eela rediscovers her passion for singing once she joins her son’s college to finish her education. As in the Hindi film Nil Battey Sannata, the scenario of having the parent in the classroom creates conflict and humour.
A lot has changed for Kajol since she became a parent. For starters, she is even more judicious than she was with her movie picks. The time spent away from her seven-year-old son Yug has to be for a film that she’d like to see and with a script that works for her “personally”. There’s not a plethora of great scripts to choose from, she adds. “I don’t want to do a film for the sake of doing it or to be seen,” she says. “Instagram does the job for me.”