Kajol, who was last seen in a Hindi film 'Dilwale' alongside Shah Rukh Khan, will be next seen in a slice-of-life drama 'Helicopter Eela'. In the film's quirky trailer, Kajol's modern day mommy-avatar has been much appreciated by the fans. Helmed by Pradeep Sarkar, Kajol plays an over-protective but cool single mother who joins her son's college to spend more time with him!
In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, the actress talks about her forthcoming film, breaking ice with her young co-actor, box-office pressure, and changing times in the film industry. Excerpts:
'Helicopter Eela' is about quirky equation between modern day mom and her teenage son. Tell us about your reaction when you first heard the narration...
I loved the script. I loved the script from the word go. I loved the humour in it. I loved the drama. I loved the fact that it talked about mother and son relationship in an atypical way. In a lot of relationships, be it your mother, your wife, your children, the main problem is a lack of space and the claustrophobia that comes with it. I loved the way it had been talked about in the film without being preachy about it. It was just like watching a funny story and at the same time been shown aspects of probably your own relationships with people.
What is the most gratifying aspect of doing a film like ‘Helicopter Eela’?
The fact that I am working with Dada (director Pradeep Sarkar) for the first time was a huge positive. The fact I have some awesome co-stars like Tota Roy Chowdhury, Riddhi Sen… and of course the fact that Ajay is producing this film as well (laughs). Most importantly I think I loved the fact we have some seriously good material to work with. It is very easy to make a good character on a good script but it is very difficult to write a good script around a good character. And I am glad that we had a good script and we also had all these super talented people to back ourselves to make sure this good script gets elevated to a great level.
How was it working with younger co-star Riddhi Sen? How did you break ice, if there was any…
It was awesome working with Riddhi. He is such a well brought-up boy. If he was rowdy or anything then this story could have been different but he is really well behaved person. Also, what’s nice is that he is from the film fraternity as well so there is a certain generosity in him as an actor which is amazing to see. He is a very generous actor. He and I were mostly on the same page which only helped to get our scenes better. It was never about his performance or my performance; it was only about the scene, and the film. If I thought of something that would make him look better and vice versa, we would talk and discuss. I genuinely appreciate that quality in him as an actor.
Films are being made so differently these days with fresh, incredible talent coming in the industry. How do you keep yourself up on that?
I think it’s a fabulous time. I also think social media is a great platform for most actors. I think, it has increased a longevity of actors and they can stay relevant for longer with so many interesting things to share directly with their fans. Also, I love the fact there are so many new platforms available for an actor. We now have Amazon, web series and so many exciting things which only add to the amount of work that’s going around. So I feel it is a great time for good actors and good stories to put out there for the audience.
After the recent success of films like Hichki, you think a feel-good movie is a new trend in Bollywood?
I think feel-good movies were always there in Bollywood. Yes, I think the subject matter has changed a bit, but the feel good part of movies is what movies are all about. I think movies are made to give you that feel good experience otherwise why someone would spend their hard-earned money on something that is not pleasurable. I believe a regular cine-goer wants to leave behind his routine life just to experience that fantasy and that is what entertainment is all about.
Your last Bollywood outing 'Dilwale' and a South film 'VIP 2' didn't perform as per expectations. How does it feel when you do your best but the films don't get received well...
Honestly, I don't worry much about such things. Dilwale did as much as expected I think, VIP 2 did well down South but not in Hindi like the makers expected it to. I think I am more concerned with my own work; you can call me selfish that way. I give 300% to my every film. I do the best of my capability to promote it, to push it and that's all I can really do because beyond that I can't control things and there is no point in thinking about it either.
Are you worried about Helicopter Eela's box-office success?
Not at all. Absolutely not. Like I said, I've done my best. We have amazing actors, fabulous director and a wonderful team. We have compete trust in our film and we believe audiences have ability to judge and appreciate good work.
So you are not feeling jittery before film's release, are you?
There's no nervousness, honestly (smiles).
Are you planning to show this film to your kids?
Yes, I am. Definitely!
And are you excited to see their reaction...
Yes, very much. Although I don't think they will enjoy the emotional bits in the film but otherwise it would be interesting to see how they react to my film.
From the current crop of actors and directors, whom do you wish to work with?
I think all of them are amazing. I think Ranveer Singh is fabulous. I think Ranbir Kapoor is fabulous. I think both of them are really good. They also share similarity in their first names! To be very, very honest, actually all of them are extremely well-prepared, well groomed and they all are doing such big films! It's amazing.
What do we expect from you next...
I have no idea myself. Currently it is all about Eela. However, I am having discussions with few people but I haven't signed anything on the dotted line yet till this film releases. So, let's see...
Any message for your fans who are waiting to see the film?
Please go and watch the film in a theatre close or far to you! This is a special film and you won't regret watching it. It will be worth your time.
Kajol is currently busy promoting 'Helicopter Eela', in which she stars with Riddhi Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Neha Dhupia. The Pradeep Sarkar directorial is an adaptation of Anand Gandhi's Gujarati play, Beta Kaagdo. 'Helicopter Eela' will hit the theatres on October 12, 2018.