Starring Aparshakti Khurrana, Pranutan Bahl, Abhishek Banerjee, Ashish Verma
Directed by Satram Ramani
Helmet Movie Review: A good idea felled by poor execution. I so wanted to like Helmet because Indians are largely shy of buying condoms, let alone using them. There is a sequence early in the film where the film’s hero Lucky(Khurrana) runs to the pharmacy to buy, you know, those thingies that one puts around one’s, you know.
Lucky points to every item in the glass display except the ….condoms!!!…There, I said it. Finally the truth is out . Indians are afraid to say it aloud. So repeat after these condom crusaders…condom, condom , condom….
The word , prounounced in various ways in the film(con-dumb, kun-dum, con-dome…) recurs so frequently I am tempted to rephrase Ghalib(who I am sure never used that thing, at least not the strawberry flavoured ones)… Duniya mein aur bhi hain gham condom ke siva.
In getting to a condomic nirvana , Helmet takes an excruciatingly roundabout route. There is alove story tucked away in the condom-inium.Lucky loves Rupali(Pranutan Bahl). But her dad Ashish Vidyarthi doesn’t think Lucky’s brass band(yes, he sings and plays at weddings) could support his pampered daughter.Can’t say what’s brassier: the band or the girl’s dad.
Here my mind digressed(trust me , it often will while sitting through this misfire of af ilm). How many times and in how many languages of Indian cinema have disapproving fathers of marriageable heroines snubbed the heroe? While I mulled over this, Lucky and his unlucky friends Sultan(Abhishek Bannerjee) and Minus(Ashish Verma) steal a truck load of cartons not knowing they are filled with condoms.
Incidentally the unknown actor who plays the truckdriver is the funniest thing you will see in the film. He takes sarcasm literally and he seems genuinely lost on the so-called jokes that everyone cracks around him . Seriously, I feel for you, Mr Truckdriver.
Director Satram Ramani is well-meaning and ambitious. But to label his corny condom campaign as a movement on a par with Mahatma Gandhi’s andolan is going too far.
Helmet is one of those films with a message that just doesn’t seem to get it right. The ostensibly bold references to protected sex are done in a blaze of giggly banter, none of it particularly funny.One of the hero’s friends is caught buying condoms at 60. We are supposed to find that hilarious. Another aging man played by that competent actor Jameel Khan, whispers to his wife in bed that they can finally have sex because he has got what it takes.Wife hopes he didn’t buy it from the neighbourhood pharmacy . “The last time when I went the next morning the pharmacist was leering at me.”
The shoddy narrative is riddled with mirth-control jokes about birthcontrol . The performances are lackadaisical. Aparshakti Khurrana , normally a scenestealer from the sidelines seems lost at the centre of the plot, probably wondering what he has that his friends Abhishek Bannerjee and Ashish Verma don’t.
Incidentally Ashish is named Minus in the film because he is hard of hearing.By that reckoning this film should be Minus-Zero because it just doesn’t get it. Protection is not about condoms.It’s an entire thought process, a way of life. Either you get or you don’t. This one doesn’t.
Finally they bring our prime minister ‘s footage on screen to convince us that the population explosion is real. If nothing else works, this surely will.