DESPITE NOBLE INTENTIONS, ‘HELMET’ NEVER REALLY TAKES OFF

Rating: 3/5
Intentions are genuine in this satirical comedy by Satramm Ramani, but the film makes you feel it should have taken some other route

It’s an important film. It’s a well-intentioned piece. But that’s never all when you look at a film in totality. Helmet attempts to break barrier in talking about condoms and birth control and contraception, eventually leading a debate around STDs and abortion. All of this, mind you, is a grave issue in our country, which needs to be addressed at every level of society. Hence, the film must be lauded for its guts of venturing here, but the direction that it goes in is clearly misjudged.

Watch the trailer here:

PLOT

Desperate to make some quick money, Lucky (Aparshakti Khurana) with a few friends of his robs an e-commerce truck. But to his surprise, the truck was loaded with condoms instead of electronic gadgets.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The story is penned by Ramani, Gopal Mundane, Amit Tyagi and Ajay S with screenplay and dialogues by Rohan Shankar. The thought is brave and gutsy. The concept is definitely a winner. The film shatters in its screenplay. The film is a lesson in how a half hearted screenplay can negatively impact a film with reasonably genuine story. The thought of talking and addressing the taboo has been shown well. Infact, the initial portrayal of an NGO working towards AIDS awareness is also shown effectively- dark humour is what you call it. Soon after, things begin to lose when the lead characters have their act.

The film charms you in bits and pieces. A scene comes and you feel it is rightly positioned. Then immediately, you are disappointed with the casual direction. The humour is okay, but not something that can make you chuckle for the major runtime of the film. The writers have tried to give the story a layer by adding an angle of the love story, but that also doesn’t seem too convincing. Ofcourse, there is a father who doesn’t want her daughter to marry the love of her life, because the guy doesn’t earn well or isn’t well educated. That’s all that’s there. On the other hand, you also show a friend who, like this guy is in debt and in need of money. Threads are woven, but not effectively brought together.

helmet, zee5, review, film, hindi, 2021
Producer Dino Morea with Pranutan Bahl and Aparshakti Khurana for promotions (image source: socialnewsxyz)

The idea is crazy and crazy ideas work. Your protagonist isn’t the ideal man doing right things always. This is naturally a good thing, as it is nice to see someone make mistakes and do stupid things. But eventually, he is your hero, doing good things out of chance. The conversation around condom purchase being a hardcore taboo is presented in many scenes, but not quite with conviction. Even without humour, it doesn’t come across as something that one should think about.

It also remains a film that people may not watch with family members, owing to its approach and casual language (no foul usage though). If this happens, which most probably will, the main message of the film won’t get across. What will be the point of the film then? It strikes a conversation? For sure, yes. Is that enough? Probably, no.

PERFORMANCE

Aparshakti Khurana becomes the leading man, quite convincingly. He shows that he can very well go beyond playing the lead’s friend. He does his act well, both in humourous and emotional sides. When the girl’s father rejects him, his expressions are worth noticing.

Pranutan Bahl does fine, only after a compelling first stint Notebook. It’s the dubbed voice (perhaps) that proves to be a dampener. Her performance is satisfactory.

Abhishek Banerjee is brilliant in a role that seems to be written only for him. Over the years, he has showed his graph and range and he well very essays this one too. Effortless ease. Most laughs should be credited to him.

helmet, zee5, hindi, film, review, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube.com)

Ashish Verma is also hilarious for the major segment of the film. Once his mannerisms and character is established, you wait for him to comment on a certain situation to see what he says.

Ashish Vidyarthi in a small role is just okay. Except for bringing in the star appeal, the script doesn’t give him any scope. Sharib Hashmi in a special appearance has his moments. He is good.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

The songs don’t do any good for the film. Even the background score by Ketan Sodha could be more effective, in comedy scenes particularly. The film should have had more depth in its writing though.

Cinematography by Milind Jog is good. The scene are lit up well, and warmth reflects out quite often. Otherwise the camera angle and transitions are simple, but effective. Production design by Aparna Raina is fairly decent, but could be better to give more context and rawness of the village and locations. As of now, it feels more of a secluded story without much belonging in the atmosphere.

Editing by Manish Pradhan nicely binds the film, except for the middle part of the first half. It is a fair structure with one thing leading to another without a break in coherence. Good job.

The topic is important. The message is important. But the film isn’t that important. Screenplay and direction remain the weak points here. An opportunity let loose.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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