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Mommie Dearest

Saturday, October 13, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Helicopter Eela
Pradeep Sarkar
Cast: Kajol, Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury and others.
Rating: * 1/2

The overbearing Indian mother is a very common entity.  She could be a subject for an affectionate send up, especially at a time when there are so few roles for women over forty.

So it is doubly exasperating when Kajol does an age-appropriate role, but one which does no justice to her. Worse, she is styled badly, over made-up and made to overact like there's no tomorrow.

Eela's (Kajol) career as a singer fails to take off, so she marries Arun (Tota Roy Chowdhury), has a child and becomes a willing homemaker. Then, the husband does a runner for the flimsiest of reasons, so she concentrates all her energies on her son.

As it happens in films, women without husbands suddenly have no friends, relatives (Eela does have a friendly mother-in-law living elsewhere) or financial needs. She becomes the kind of mother who forces tiffins on to her kid, and turns up at his school trip.

This 'helicoptering' becomes a problem when Vivan (Riddhi Sen) goes to college, and Eela decides to enroll too. This bit is borrowed from the West, in India, there is such a crush of young students with high percentages that no college would admit a parent. (In the far superior Nil Battey Sannata, a mother joins her daughter's school for different reasons and since it's a municipal school it's perfectly normal that Hindi is spoken, not so in a posh

Eela proceeds to make a complete nuisance of herself, butting in everywhere and interfering not just in his life, but that of his friends too.

Then, there's the manufactured conflict, melodrama and an utterly unconvincing climax. By which time the audience is bored and exhausted.

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