Being a mother in real life, there was a certain kind of affinity that Kajol could bring to her character while playing Eela in her upcoming film Helicopter Eela. Here, Kajol plays a single mother who keeps a close check on her son, played by the National Award winning actor Riddhi Sen. In a conversation with indianexpress.com, the actor spoke about her relationship with Nysaa, playing the character of Eela and things she has learned from the character on parenting.
Here are the excerpts:
How difficult was it for you to find Eela within you?
Not at all. I think Eela is a mother and whatever she does, is an extension of the fact that she loves her son so much, irrespective of his actions. Whether she is on his head making a dabba for him and firing him for it or even when she is following him to places, I think all of this comes from the fact that she absolutely loves her son. Every parent finds this as familiar territory and somewhere down the line if we have not done it, we’ve definitely thought about it. Also, Eela is a single mother. I think a single parent’s relationship with their child is a little closer. It is also because they realise that it is just them who have to look after each other. The child grows up a little faster. If the parent is bringing up a child, the child too is bringing her up. This change in dynamic makes a huge difference.
Why is the film called Helicopter Eela?
Basically, the title comes from a hashtag called Helicopter moms, which became a trend on social media. The term Helicopter moms is about mothers who are obsessive about their kids and their lives revolve around them.
The tagline of the film reads reinventing parenting. So did you learn something new?
I definitely learned what not to do because I think Eela is a bit OTT. I have definitely thought about checking up on my daughter but I have not gotten so far and I don’t think I would be doing it either.
When you signed the film. Did you have a conversation about it with Nysaa?
I did not have any conversation about the film with Nysaa. My daughter and I share a very good relationship, especially now. I miss her. I always feel like, oddly enough, my hand is missing or something, the phantom feeling. I would say we have a solid relationship. We talk about almost everything. I think it is really important to be able to talk to your children about the things they want to talk about. They should have the confidence to pick up the phone to call you and banter about how bad their day has been and go on and on about their life. Half of the time, I don’t even think she needs a reaction. She just wants to rant, which is also a part of the relationship. So, it’s great.
Did Nysaa teach you the workings of social media?
She was the one who put me on Instagram and gave me a 15 minutes lecture. Imagine, she was 13 then and she was teaching me what it means to be a brand and what all one needs to do to build a brand. I was like, ‘I don’t know anything about Instagram’. And she said, ‘I am your admin and I am with you’. For the first year, she was clicking photos of me, putting them up on Instagram.
What would have been the situation if your mother was your classmate?
I would have loved it. My mom is too cool for words. My mom and I are exactly the same. I am not going back to college, neither is she, so no chance of that happening. But we would have been best friends.
You and Ajay are perfect examples of Yin and Yang. Is that the secret to a perfect relationship?
I think we are pretty balanced. I am the bad cop and he is the good one. Most importantly, he supports me if I say no and vice-versa. They (the kids) are able to manipulate us but not as much as they would want to.
Has it become difficult to find age-appropriate roles?
I think it has always been tough to find good scripts. When I say I am picky and choosy, I am picky and choosy. I have been choosy for 20 years and that is not something new. I don’t want to do anything and everything. It’s not like ‘hey, I am not doing anything, so let’s do a film’. If I am putting time and spending over three months, I should be 120% convinced to do it.
Does it bother you that this conversation comes up only with female actors?
Not at all. There is, of course, a disparity. But I have not felt it. I am still doing what I want to do. I am still doing the films I really want to be a part of. If you see an older woman with a younger man, you are looking at them weirdly. You and I may not but society does. However, when a man is with a much younger woman, it somehow seems acceptable. So, I think society has to change. I will say this again and again, films reflect our society. We may influence up to a certain level but the beginning is always the reflection.
In an era where everything is inspired or remade, do you think DDLJ can be recreated or remade?
I don’t think it can. We made a good film and we set it free. After that, it is just the audience who has taken it to whatever level. If today, it is still running at the Maratha Mandir, it is not us who needs to be credited for that. The credit goes to people who want to watch it and who want their next generation to watch it too. So, I don’t think I would like a recreation of it.
What did DDLJ mean for you then and what does it mean for you now?
I had a great time making it. I made good friends. Most of my films are more of memories for me. That is why I am not so objective about it.