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Helmet Movie Review: Mirth Control Pill….Kahani Con Dumb Ki





Starring Aparshakti Khurrana, Pranutan Bahl, Abhishek Banerjee, Ashish Verma

Directed by  Satram Ramani

Rating: **

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.

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