Half Girlfriend, a film by Mohit Suri, is based on the novel of the same name written by Chetan Bhagat. Chetan had not received great reviews for his novel, he was criticized for bringing forced twists and turns. This review of the film is not done on the basis of Chetan’s book versus its adaptation by Mohit into the film. The review is done purely on the basis of what is shown on screen. Certainly, some minor changes have been done in the screenplay but overall it remains the same. The concept of half girlfriend was to focus on non-committal relationships, where the boy and the girl have the chemistry of being in a relationship but not clear about the same. They might love to hang-out even during odd hours, they need one another in their lives, but not ready to accept that they have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. They are not ready to take their relationship to the next level. This film also showcases the story of a boy who is in love with a girl and wants to move ahead with her in life, but the girl feels that she could be more than a friend to him, but less than a girlfriend. So, the terminology used by her to define such a relationship is that of Half Girlfriend. They are not clear about their relationship status with each other. It is true that such relationships do exist, but somehow, the treatment of the subject is done in a very average manner. The film also deals with the linguistic challenges faced by Bhojpuri-laced Hindi speaking boy from Bihar who finds himself misfit amongst people speaking fluent English. Many would be able to relate to it, but somehow, it is not very convincing. It is true that our pronunciation does have regional influences. People from eastern, western, southern and northern parts of our country might pronounce the same word differently. Similarly, Bihar is no exception, but what is so big deal about it. It is natural, we all have our own pronunciation, enunciation, and diction. But what has been observed is that students from Bihar are the most hardworking lot in campus, be it their focus towards establishing their identity, be it their focus in civil services or be it their focus in creative areas. They are quick learners too, could be due to their persistence towards achieving excellence and prove to themselves that they are not lesser beings in comparison to anyone in this world. So, here is a film, where the lead protagonist is from Bihar, gets into one of the most prestigious colleges of Delhi University, still unable to get over his challenges of speaking English even after spending three years in the campus is beyond comprehension. He does not find it difficult to adjust to the cosmopolitan culture of the campus but finds it difficult to pick up English. It is also not understandable that why the names of the place Dumrao and the college St. Stephen’s college were changed to Simrao and St. Steven’s College respectively. The very plot has loopholes, and so is the film.
The film begins with Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) rushing to a house to find that Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) has left the house writing a letter to him. He travels to Delhi to hand over the letter to her mom and the story unveils as a flashback during this train journey of Madhav. He is the prince of Simrao, whose mother Seema Biswas runs a school there for the underprivileged boys. He comes to Delhi to take admission in St. Steven’s College in Delhi University under sports quota (a basketball player) for BA Sociology. Riya also gets admission in sports quota. It is love at first sight for Madhav. He starts becoming friendly with Riya. Riya does take tips from Madhav in regard to the game, and also practices with him. They started hanging out together apart from the game too. Madhav’s bunch of friends, especially Shailesh (Vikrant Massey) warns Madhav that he may not be a proper match to Riya who is from an affluent business family. Madhav does try to know Riya’s mind, for which her response was that she is his half girlfriend, more than a friend but less than a girlfriend. Madhav gets confused with her response. On his friends’ insisting, he does try to test her love which results in the fallout. Later the situations happen so that she chooses a different path in her life and moves away geographically. Madhav, unable to get over Riya, comes back to the village after completing graduation. As it is quite predictable, Madhav and Riya’s paths cross once again. What happens to their relationship? How the story moves further? Does she become more than a half girlfriend to him? Does their relationship status evolve? If yes, how?
The film does try to connect with the social mission of sanitation facilities and also ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ etc. This is a good effort but does not blend naturally with the screenplay.
One of the most unconvincing scenes is when Riya chooses to unwind at the top of India Gate. It is simply impossible to get away from the eyes of the security guards and climb to the top of this monument.
Arjun and Shraddha are both mediocre in the film. In his previous films viz. Ishaqzaade, Gunday, 2 States, Finding Fanny, Tevar, Ki and Ka etc. he could bring many elements into his characters which made his screen presence very much noticeable and he did gather many positive feedbacks. But in this film, Arjun has not come out completely. It appeared as if he was not excited for this role. Shraddha looked pretty in some outfits and that is all about her. She needs to evolve a lot as far as acting is concerned. Vikrant Massey as Shailesh is good. He did deliver dialogues well. His expressions are also very good. Seema Biswas has very less of screen time and so does not have much to do. Rhea Chakraborty as Anshika (Shailesh’ wife) has a small role, but good.
Half Girlfriend is actually half-cooked, be it its romance, passion, friendship, acting, dialogues, screenplay. The very plot has loopholes, and so is the film. The songs ‘Baarish’, ‘Thodi Der’, ‘Phir bhi Tumko Chaahunga’ are certainly a great relief in the film.
Rating: 2/5 (Average)
Cast and Crew Details: Source – Wikipedia Page
Cast: Arjun Kapoor (Madhav Jha), Shraddha Kapoor (Riya Somani), Vikrant Massey (Shailesh), Rhea Chakraborty (Anshika), Seema Biswas
Direction: Mohit Suri
Produced by: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Mohit Suri, Chetan Bhagat
Written by: Tushar Hiranandani, Ishita Moitra Udhwani
Screenplay : Tushar Hiranandani, Ishita Moitra Udhwani
Story by: Chetan Bhagat
Based on: Novel ‘Half Girlfriend by Chetan Bhagat
Music: Mithoon, Tanishk Bagchi, Rishi Rich, Farhan Saeed, Ami Mishra, Rahul Mishra (Songs) and Raju Singh (Background score)
Edited by: Devendra Murdeshwar
Cinematography: Vishnu Rao
Production Company: ALT Entertainment
Distributed by: Balaji Motion Pictures, NH Studios
Release Date: 19th May, 2017
Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes