Chetan Bhagat has become a huge name in the Indian writing space with his books and his articles. He’s influenced everyone and his books (translated in many languages) has touched a lot of people. Adaptations of his books (3 Idiots, Kai Po Che, 2 States) have almost always done well both critically and commercially. So when there’s an adaptation of his least favourably looked upon book Half Girlfriend, expectations are bound to be mixed. And will Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor be as convincing in Chetan’s milieu? Will Mohit Suri make a sure-footed comeback after the Humari Adhuri Kahaani debacle.
Story: Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is from a royal background in Bihar’s Simrao and has a doting mother (Seema Biswas). He gets to join Delhi’s prestigious St. Steven’s College thanks to sports quota. There he meets Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) who he falls in love with. Her charming avatar hides tales of abuse at her home where her father abuses her mother. Even though Madhav loves Riya and Riya also seems affectionate towards him, she’s too scarred by what she sees at home to actually get into a commitment with Madhav. Therein lies the concotation of the phrase ‘Half Girlfriend’s. When Madhav tries to force himself upon Riya, Riya feigns death and leaves her life to go somewhere else and even gets married. But years later, destiny makes them meet once again. Will love rekindle? Will Madhav get the love of his life? Watch the movie to find out more.
Review: The story of failed love has been explored a lot recently with movies such as Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Meri Pyaari Bindu, and while those were subtle treatments of the topic, Half Girlfriend is a full blown commercial entertainer which explores that area. Mohit keeps proceedings brisk and flowing very quickly through the first half but starts losing the plot a bit in the second half. But the movie works simply because he seems very certain about the content he is dealing with. The story is not very high brow and elements such as Bill Gates’ weird digital face imposter and the lead character chilling atop India Gate doesn’t do the realism chasers any favours. It does test your logic because of the stupidity of the lead characters, but eventually it makes for a satisfying movie watching experience if you ignore the stalkerish nature of the male protagonist.
Half Girlfriend has been shot on a huge scale and it is very evident in the way it has been shot. The cinematography of the Delhi and New York scenes make for good frames, but the VFX work is very patchy. The editing could have been tighter as Mohit lets emotions flow and hangs on to his scenes longer than it needed to be. The costume design is very candy flossy and a commercial entertainer couldn’t have been costumed any other way.
The music of Half Girlfriend is hit with 2 songs becoming chartbusters already. Phir Bhi Tumko Chaaunga reminds us of Channa Mereya because of Arijit and the melancholy. And Baarish has a nice ring to it and Ash King’s voice really takes the song to another level. The other songs aren’t quite as great but they work well within the movie. The background score is quite decent too and doesn’t take attention away from the dialogues.
Acting: Everyone who thought that Arjun Kapoor’s Bihari dialect sounded a little off after the trailer was released, here’s the good news: it is a lot better in the movie. He does convince you eventually. The mannerisms also work and the sadness in Arjun’s eyes seep through. It is not very easily noticable because of the subtleties but it is there. He is an underrated actor. Shraddha Kapoor once again plays another variant of the typical Shraddha Kapoor slate of characters that she has been playing for a long time now. She is bubbling and charming, wants to sing, but hides a deep rooted phobia of commitment. And Shraddha is in good form here. But the one actor who steals most of his scenes with his confidence and pitch perfect dialogue delivery is Vikrant Massey who plays Arjun’s friend in the movie. In a parallel world where there exists a realistic version of Half Girlfriend, Vikrant plays Madhav in it. Or se we hope.
Conclusion: Half Girlfriend is a better commercial entertainer than the drivel Bollywood keeps serving us week in, week out. It has its share of problems (quite big ones actually) but when it comes down to it, Half Girlfriend is a rollicking entertainer which gives the viewer the feeling of having watched a true blue Bollywood film. The performances are good, the music is excellent, the film has been shot on a huge scale and the storyline is sure to touch you in one way or another. If you are in the mood for non-Baahubali movies, Half Girlfriend is well worth a shot. Give it a chance.
- Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor are good in it
- The music is excellent
- For a Mohit Suri film, the scale is pretty big and the production design shows it too
- The first half is breezy
- Unrealistic VFX and Shraddha’s character being stop India Gate can keep you from taking the film seriously
- The film slows down in the second half
- The stalker angle ideally should have been left out