Barring 3 Idiots, I have not been a fan of films made on Chetan Bhagat’s books. Therefore I wasn’t expecting Half Girlfriend starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor to tug at my heartstrings. Add to it one of the first dialogue promos where Arjun Kapoor put me off by getting his Bihari boy act all wrong. In the promo, he uses the word ‘kya’ in the sentence, “Par ek baat batao, ye Half Girlfriend hota kya hai?” Now, in Bihari language there is no ‘kya’ but only ‘ka’.
In subsequent trailers, he seemed trying too hard to copy the Bihari accent. But his reel life dialogues were clearly marked by his real life polished, city upbringing. So the character that Arjun plays didn’t just get the basic nuance of a language incorrect but also the accent was not up to the mark. That when, his language and background are supposed to be the barriers between him and his true love! But it is a Mohit Suri film and so I was waiting for it to make me feel all mushy inside with the warmth of hopeless, crazy, stupid love. Read on to know if the love saga met all expectations. (ALSO READ: Half Girlfriend trade buzz: Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor’s love story will earn Rs 35 crore in its opening weekend)
What’s it about?
Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is a simple, Hindi-speaking village boy from Bihar. Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) on the other hand is a hoity-toity English-speaking Delhi girl. This week’s other release Hindi Medium has an important dialogue that talks about how English in India is not just a language but something that defines class. Half Girlfriend is set in a similar backdrop. This particular issue – language barrier, intimidates Madhav, who wants to date Riya, a girl who as his friends suggest, is ‘out of his league.’ However this is not all, the woman also has commitment phobia.
All that she can offer him is the privilege of calling her his Half Girlfriend. But will our ‘Babua Bihar’ settle for this ‘half’ status? Or will he move on in life and find another woman who can give him her all? Will Riya have a change of heart and decide to reciprocate Madhav’s love? This pretty much sums up what the whole movie Half Girlfriend is all about! (ALSO READ: Half Girlfriend hero Arjun Kapoor reveals all about his relationship status)
Story: One of the most important things that work for Half Girlfriend is that it is a story most of us can relate to. Yes, it is every other love story – and therefore it beautifully encapsulates the various phases and emotions that a couple goes through during a relationship. The commitment phobia, the confused state of mind, the perennial anxiety about the future, the yearning for the other – Half Girlfriend is the love story of most millennials. The beauty of this love story lies in the way the characters deal with their relationship.
While Riya is not ready to accept her love for Madhav, she is also someone who doesn’t want to settle down with someone on a whim. She is strong enough to walk out of a relationship if she feels she is not being treated right. Madhav on the other hand believes in ‘never giving up’. But instead of using his mantra to stalk Riya to a point that she gives in, the lad gets a grip on his life and makes a genuine effort to move on. He also is an example on how you can move on without harboring any grudge towards the one who rejected you. The story is entertaining throughout and tries to create suspense as well but becomes predictable making it a snooze affair in bits and parts. (ALSO READ: Haseena new still: Shraddha Kapoor and brother Siddhanth’s intense look prepares us for the gritty thriller)
Performances: Arjun Kapoor – Shraddha Kapoor make a beautiful onscreen pair. Their relationship goes through many phases – from basketball friends, to chai-coffee friends, to becoming lovers. Through all this, you see changes in their chemistry too to coincide with the milestone in their relationship at that point of time.
Vikrant Massey as a concerned friend, Rhea Chakraborty as a potential love interest and Seema Biswas as Madhav’s mother, all do justice to their roles.
Music: The music and lyrics are soothing to the ears but there’s isn’t much to write home about, except for Stay A Little Longer crooned by Anushka Sahaney. Her peppy voice makes the song stand out and the melody stays with you even after the movie is over because of its hummable tune and simple lyrics.
Thodi Der, the Hindi version of the same song, is played so many times in the movie that it gets exasperating after a point. Baarish is melodious and all about longing for love while Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga will make your heartache.
Half Girlfriend has some really silly moments and some annoying ones as well! For example, in one scene, Vikrant Massey (Shailesh) offers his jacket to Arjun Kapoor. The two men clearly belong to two vastly different clothing sizes and you wonder how that jacket will fit on the beefy, hunky Arjun.
In another scene, Arjun is at a college interview and he is clearly struggling to communicate in English. However, the interviewers are not just talking in fluent English but have an accent too! In fact, they are so out of touch with Hindi that while discussing Sociology, they get confused when Arjun calls the same subject by its Hindi name – ‘Samaj Shastra’. (ALSO READ: Hindi Medium movie review: Irrfan Khan, Saba Qamar start a conversation that goes nowhere)
Also, while the concept of love at first sight is all good, I expected a better treatment of the done-to-death formula from Mohit Suri. Arjun Kapoor spots Riya at the college campus and the camera pans at her legs and eyes. His reaction, “Such a beautiful girl who also plays basketball” reeks of sexism!
We are not done yet! Another scene – Arjun’s friends suggest that his half girlfriend can only become his full girlfriend if he is able to get sexually intimate with her. He tries his luck but Shraddha refuses and asks him to take it slow. That doesn’t go down well with him and the two part ways. One of the closing scenes of the film shows the two making out. Like seriously! Is that to convey that the deal is now finally sealed? Confusing love with sexual intimacy is what leaves you aghast.
Watch it for Arjun and Shraddha Kapoor’s sweet chemistry and the back to college romance.
India.com rating: 3 stars