Half GirlFriend Film Review: Half Measures Won’t Do

| May 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

 Winston Churchill is credited with the honour of  delivering a shortest speech, when he addressed the gathering of students at Oxford University by saying just four words “Never, Never, Never give up”. Chetan Bhagat is no Winston Churchill and need not be,though he weaves a premise of his novel Half Girlfriend on somewhat similar premise that don’t bow down to defeat. Rather defeat the defeat.

Trust Chetan Bhagat , he can do this.Mohit Suri directs a screenplay  ( written by Tushar Hiranandani)based on this pop psychology.

Those who have not read the novel, the story revolves around a Rajkumar of Simrao in Bihar (yes Rajkumar and no less!), one Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) who comes from Patna to study in New Delhi in an elite college named Stevens College, modelled on the lines of St Stephens College (for the present generation it may add to their GK that Shashi Tharoor, Arnab Goswami are its alumni).Now our Madhav Jha is a good basketball player and has all the chances of getting through sports quota, if there is one. His English is pathetic and he fairs poorly in an interview where one condition of admission is that one should know English well (colonial hangups, even after seventy years of independence!).

Madhav wants to return to Patna as he thinks he won’t fit in the milieu , but then he is exhorted by his mother Seema Biswas that don’t ever get daunted by defeat. Take it head on till you win. On top of it, if your heart gets the reason to stay it is more than enough.

So Madhav Jha’s heart gets the reason when he spots Riya Somani (Shradhha Kapoor) and falls in love at first sight. He decides to stay back and pursue his love interest rather than pursuing his studies. In present day terminology this pursuit could be labelled as stalking that is an offence and a crime. But this is hindi movie masala mix.

Now Riya Somani is from Lutyen’s elite. Having been raised in a household where domestic violence endured by her suffering mom is a norm, she has issues with herself, where to escape any trauma she runs away from the reality. Her dream is to sing before a live-audience at no less a place than in some pub in New York. Why?Why not in New Delhi at Talkatora Stadium or Siri Fort? Don’t ask. Just accept what is served.

Whether Madhav, a Bihari representing middle class, gets Riya, a Delhite representing class is the crux of the story that is stretched like a rubber band whose elasticity is lost.

There are so many questions that arise in your mind while watching this tale of one-sided love,this concept of being half girlfriend who will go this far and not beyond, pursuing your love-interest over the years as to why and what for? Don’t ask. Just savor even if it’s a rehash of last night’s leftovers.

Laden with tropes, déjà vu, implausible scenario ( like sneaking into the India Gate hight security zone and unwinding yourself sitting at its terrace),plot elements that remind you of Rockstar, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, it becomes tiring to watch the drama on the screen. Chetan Bhagat comes across more of a chef who knows to take and mix ingredients, rather than a creator of characters that stay with you.

To make it more contemporary the trending issues of  #BetiPadaoBetiBachao and #Toiletsforgirls are woven in, that do not strike any sentimental chord.

In fact the whole movie does not strike any chord whatsoever. Chemistry between Arjun Kapoor and Shradhha Kapoor is zero. Their performances going no where.

The love story without mellifluous music is a big let down. Six composers and twelve lyrics writers are not able to lift your mood up or sway you, sweep you off your feet.

Mohit Suri’s direction is pedestrian, though the story flies you from Patna to New Delhi to New York.

Two things stand out. The Bihari lingo mixed with English and Vikrant Massey’s role of Arjun Kapoor’s roommate and later a friend. Rest all makes you slouch and go for a snooze.

By the time the movie ends you decide on two things. That it is better to stay single then to become  part of such a mess. That it is,at times more practical to just give up, caring two hoots for Winston Churchill’s admonition to never, never, never give up.


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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