What is the story about?
Lucky and Rupali are in love and want to marry, but her father doesn't want her to marry a puny man working in a wedding band and is fixing her marriage to a Harvard graduate son of a MLA. Lucky and his bandmates plan to start a new band, but Rupali's uncle ensures no one gives them loan to start the band. They come up with a plan to rob a goods' transportation truck which they think is filled with phones. However, to their surprise they rob a truck which is full of condoms. How they sell those thousands of condoms and raise awareness forms the crux of the story.
Helmet is like any other social satire based in the hindi heartland. It has comedy, quirks and a social message to add. The story if you compare with a Padman or a Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, isn't too different. There is the girl the hero has to woo, but has an unwilling father and lots of sidekicks to support his nefarious plans. The movie is predictable from the word go. Right from the scene where a coughing goon shows up, you realise how the story would pan out. However, there are moments in the film that may make you cringe and at times seem preachy, especially the climax which is so Bollywoodish that ruins the entire light-heartedness of the film. The movie gets lot of things right, like how men refuse to wear condoms and hence put their partners at risk of transmitting STDs and unwanted pregnancies. It also tells us how in rural areas people still associate a lot of stigma around buying of condoms. The scene and the monologue in the brothel is quite realistic and that perhaps, could be the saving grace of the film. However, Helmet doesn't have the strength to start conversations on condom usage like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha did for women's sanitation woes or how Padman did for accessibility of sanitary napkins. Blame it on the script or the marketing, but Helmet is a lost cause. While, we agree with the sentiment, the execution certainly falls flat.
Aparshakti Khurrana is the star of the film and he carries the film on his shoulders. He manages to breathellife into a limp and predictable story and his comic timing, too is perfect. Pranutan Bahl, sadly seems like his sidekick than his lover. The other actors like Abhishek Banerjee and Ashish Verma too don't have much to do in the film. Sharib Hashmi has a brief role and so does Ashish Vidyarthi.
Music & Other Departments
For a movie that is one hour forty-four minutes long and has a social message, the song sequences kind of ruin the movie-watching experience. The writing too at times, is a bit choppy. Ashish Verma's character has been written quite half-heartedly. Satramm Ramani's direction is interesting to say the least, but we wish the first 30 minutes of the film weren't wasted in the characters just being stupid on the screen and the editing could have been more crisp.
Watch out for Aparshakti Khurrana's acting chops.
The songs had no place in this social satire.
The makers should have handled a serious topic like AIDS, contraception with a bit more nuance.
Did I enjoy it?
To be honest, it is not a bad fare, but it is also not unmissable.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, if you have an hour and half to spare and lowered expectations, watch this film.