Almost every book by Indian author Chetan Bhagat has been turned into a feature film thus becoming a trend of sorts. After the huge success of 2 States, in which Arjun Kapoor played the lead role, Chetan Bhagat once again made Half Girlfriend with Arjun Kapoor. The film Half Girlfriend, which released this week, is a romantic drama film but this time it deals with the changing definition of youth relationships. Will this film continue the success of both or will it not live up to those expectations, let’s review.
The film begins with Hindi medium-educated Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) enrolling in the prestigious St. Steve’s College in Delhi where he meets Riya Somani (Shradda Kapoor), a modern English-speaking girl. Their bond deepens during their college days while playing basketball and roaming the streets of Delhi and Madhav falls in love with her while his friend Shailesh (Vikrant Massey) constantly warns her about the matter. When he shares his feelings with Riya, Riya decides to take that friendship a step further but she is afraid to give a name to the relationship so she decides to become Madhav’s ‘half girlfriend’. Then one day after an altercation between the two, Riya suddenly hands over her wedding card to Madhav. Riya marries her childhood friend Rohan. The news of Riya’s marriage shakes Madhav and then he decides to return to his home town of Bihar, where he takes up the task of expanding the facilities in his mother’s school. Once again Madhav meets Riya, now a divorcee, and Riya helps Madhav but suddenly disappears from her life again.
And leaves behind a letter filled with the agreement of her love. After she does this over and over again, Madhav fails to find her and decides to give up and move to New York as Riya later told her that she dreams of going to New York to become a live singer. Falling in love once again, Madhav searches for her in New York to be with him forever. Whether he is able to succeed in this work and whether he can find true love, all this is known only after watching the film.
To redefine the modern relationship, Half Girlfriend tries to explore a concept or a relationship that is complicated in itself. Also, unlike the 2 states which define different communities, the script of this film seems to be half-baked. Even though the makers of the film claimed the film to be a romantic drama, but let us tell you that even till the end of the film, the meaning of ‘Half Girlfriend’ is not clear.
Also, the screenplay written by Tusshar Hiranandani is shown in a very over-dramatic manner for the young Indian audience and this is the biggest flaw of the film. The script of the film fails to engage the audience. However, as the story of the film progresses, the adult romance, showing the romance between the lead characters, is not effective and entertaining and does not bind the audience as much as it should. There are hardly any scenes in the film that establish an emotional connection or touch your heart.
Most of the drama that appears on the screen is about guesswork. For example, when Riya talks about her failed marriage, it is more of a conversation between the two characters. It leaves the audience feeling somewhat disconnected with the characters and their emotions. The main characters lack depth. Also, the life full of problems of the characters makes it troubling.
After making films like Ek Villain, Aashiqui 2, here’s where Mohit Suri completely loses his grip on the subject. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that the filmmaker has not done justice to the story in the slightest. In fact, there are several scenes in the film that remind us of the 90s melodrama and flop film Hamari Adhuri Kahani.
The second half of the film feels forcefully drawn out, especially towards the climax. Despite the fact that the duration of the film is 135 minutes, the proceedings of the film test your patience and hence fail to create the desired effect. Adding to the lack of the film are some incredible scenes from the film like the scene with Bill Gates. Even though the VFX team has attempted to introduce Bill Gates’ presence in the film through special effects, they fail miserably, so much so that even some of the heartwarming scenes look like trivial comic scenes. Huh .
Since the film falls under a romance genre, it rests entirely on the shoulders of Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. However, the most important part of the film, their chemistry or lack thereof, is one of the most disappointing aspects of the film.
Talking about acting, Arjun Kapoor suits as a Bihari boy but due to faulty script and screenplay, he gets very little to perform and his expressions are also limited. Shraddha Kapoor gets confused between her character, who is also a basketball player, and a singer. Her lip-smacking is off track, a strong contrast is reflected in her voice when she ie Riya sings an English song and a Hindi song. On the other hand, Vikrant Massey does a good job as Shailesh and the rest of the characters like Seema Biswas and others prove to be helpful in taking the film forward.
Mohit Suri’s films are known for his songs but it seems that Half Girlfriend lacks melodious music. ‘Baarish’ song makes it to the chartbuster list
Tries, the rest of the music is situational. The music is quite disappointing despite having five musicians like Mithoon, Rishi Rich, Farhan Saeed, Tanishk Bagchi, Raju Singh. Its English versions, along with ‘Phir Bhi Tumko Chahunga’ and ‘Thodi Der’, have been consistently used as background scores in the film, which at times become disturbing.
The dialogues written by Ishita Moitra are extremely dramatic and too filmy for Bollywood. Devendra Murdeshwar’s editing could have been more fun as there were many scenes that could have been deleted. Cinematographer Vishnu Rao does nothing to rectify the situation.
Overall, Half Girlfriend turns out to be a highly dramatic piece of cinematic work that fails to create the desired effect. The film will struggle hard to survive after the opening weekend at the box office.