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'Helmet' Movie Revie: Quirky Idea Falls Flat!

The film’s tongue-in-cheek look at how condoms affect the lives of three people is too banal to enjoy laughs all the way. Whatever little fun is intended, it’s marred by too many second guesses by viewers.

'Helmet' Movie Revie: Quirky Idea Falls Flat!
A still from the movie 'Helmet' starring Aparshakti Khurrana and Abhishek Banerjee
'Helmet' Movie Revie: Quirky Idea Falls Flat!
outlookindia.com
2021-09-03T12:35:10+05:30

Starring: Aparshakti Khurana, Abhishek Banerjee, Ashish Verma, Paranatun Behl
Director: Satram Ramani
Rating: *

Any taboo subject that our society shuns, or is uncomfortable talking about it openly, has to be dealt with smartly. And cleverly. The new Zee5 film 'Helmet', directed by Satram Ramani, is supposedly a social satire that had quite a quirky storyline from the heartland of India, and if it had been handled well, could have been yet another 'Vicky Donor' that is one of the most successful sex comedies made in recent times. The regret is, in trying to make a film that consciously tries to blend comedy with a theme on an embarrassing and off-limits issue in certain sections of our land, it sinks.

The film begins with statistics showing how rapidly India’s population is growing at such an alarming rate. Soon, we are taken into a meeting in progress where the boss is seen briefing his sales team that sells condoms. His grouse is: 'Condom ki sales bad hi nahi rahi hai?' (The sale of condoms is at an all-time low). He then drops a bomb: The Health Ministry has given the go-ahead for another round of survey, and different teams will get into action to visit door-to-door in the fictional town of Rajnagar in Uttar Pradesh to find out if people use ‘protection’ in their personal lives. The team shares how in the past they have been either booted out or landed into serious trouble while asking personal queries about the use of condoms to the common man. This time again, any resistance from his team is countered by his stern diktat: 'Do not question it unless you attempt it!'

In the same town, good friends, Lucky (Aparshakti Khurana, Minus (Ashish Verma) and Sultan (Abhishek Banerjee) perform in a local band to eke out a living. Lucky loves Rupali (Pranatun Behl) but her father (Ashish Vidyarthi) doesn’t approve of a bandmaster as his son-in-law. Lucky is insulted by Rupali’s uncle and father with the warning that she would be married off into a rich family. It is then the three friends decide to hatch a plan to strike it rich. After making enquiries about a web based company Checkkart that transports expensive goods (television, refrigerators, et al) in lorries to various cities, they come up with an ingenuous plan to waylay a truck carrying mobile phones. And so, on a dark and dense night, Lucky poses as the Police Commissioner and Sultan as a Havaldar and raid the truck and steal huge cartons that they presume had cellular phones. To their utter surprise, after they manage to carry out their strategic move, they realise they have landed up with packs of condoms!

And thus begins their harrowing experience of how to get rid of such huge delivery load of boxes. From attempting to sell some to a chemist to struggling to sell them to clear the debt that Sultan owes to money lender Bunty Bhai (Sharib Hashmi), they make every effort to put them up for sale.   

Writing Credits by Gopal Mudhane for the story and Satram Ramani and Rohan Shankar for the script shows how unimaginative some creative people can be. At a time, when many words which were earlier considered distasteful, are no longer that offensive or unmentionable in our country, they would like us to believe that small towns are still trying hard to cope with the fast-changing reality that has taken over every place by storm. Not only are small towners and even many villagers - may be, not all among every rural community – are aware of family planning and do not shy away from buying contraceptives. Of course, some belonging to the older generation, both in small and metropolitan cities, are less relaxed while discussing topics related to sex, and often squirm at the very mention of any word they deem unpleasantly objectionable and obnoxious.
Surprisingly, Rupali, the modern outlook that she has, openly asks for a condom before making out.  

The jokes fall flat and had it not been the acting kills of Abhishek Banerjee, Ashish Verma, and even Aparshakti – who, by the way, may not be as gifted as his sibling Ayushmaan but infuses his scenes with enough energy – the scenes would have descended into unbearably insipid moments. Pranatun has her own charm and acquits herself well, but only because the role isn’t too demanding. The still wet-behind-the-ears actress has a long way to go if she wants to play a long innings on celluloid.

The film’s tongue-in-cheek look at how condoms affect the lives of three people is too banal to enjoy laughs all the way. Whatever little fun is intended, it’s marred by too many second guesses by viewers. 

To top it all, the filmmakers find it mandatory to link it to our government’s mission to control population explosion, and thus, weave everything possible in the storyline, categorise it with a wholesome entertainer with a message category tag.

Please, who wants a message while watching an entertainer?

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