Director: Mohit Suri
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Vikrant Massey, Seema Biswas
Too much story and too many angles spoil Half Girlfriend, eventually it doesn’t even become half as good a film as you would have expected. Based on Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is a Bihari young guy who doesn’t know how to talk in English and he falls for an uptown modern girl Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) in college. Slowly, they start forming a bond which can be of romance but Riya is only interested in staying his Half Girlfriend while Madhav is completely in love with her. Will their relationship go beyond that half measure or will it be destroyed in future?
My biggest concern before watching the film was whether Arjun Kapoor will be able to pull off the Bihari accent but he does a good job. However, Half Girlfriend’s story and its twists end up becoming the biggest concerns for its failure. Apart from romance and their problems, the narrative of his village school dream and his mother’s issues take up a lot of time in this love story. Don’t get me wrong, those aspects were good to have in the film but the idea was to take up less time yet give a strong support to the core theme of Madhav-Riya’s love story.
Mohit Suri is a kind of a director who adds brilliant interest into the characters and his ability to pull off dark and painful scenarios is commendable. But, Half Girlfriend should have been a different storytelling. Unlike Aashiqui 2, this film had a lot of scope for fun elements of college days which were far less in the film. I was expecting Madhav’s friends and their comic context with reference to his longing for Riya but those didn’t add much entertainment. The music of Half Girlfriend is amazing. Always the high point for Suri’s films, the songs are a charm such as Baarish and the lovely Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga. By the end of the film, you will also become a fan of ‘Stay a little longer’.
Image Source: Balaji Motion Pictures
Coming to the biggest flaw of Suri’s direction, the character of Riya Somani seemed highly confused. Running away from every situation, taking bold decisions which are always wrong, these things unfortunately made the film look like a one-sided love story, which it is actually not. Then comes that New York hunt which takes the movie further downhill. In a nutshell, excessive story and twists ignore the main focus of Half Girlfriend.
Half Girlfriend should only be appreciated for the performances. Arjun Kapoor holds the role of Madhav Jha surprisingly well. After watching the trailer, I had my doubts about his Bihari accent. He takes time initially to perfect that tone but after a while, he is rightly deep into it. His passionate stare at Riya, the pain he experiences with constant separation from his love and the final phase of his frustration in New York is ably enacted by him. Shraddha Kapoor has become a first choice for such romantic roles. She delivers a fine performance of a modern high society girl, with attitude and then her love interest in Madhav.
Vikrant Massey as Shailesh has to get a special mention for his impeccable portrayal of Madhav’s best friend. What dialogues he delivers while they are in college! With so fast Bihari punches and his constant care for his friend is appreciable. Moreover, his altogether different shade in New York is proficient. I am really looking forward to his next film ‘A Death in the Gunj’. It’s a delight to watch Seema Biswas after a long time on screen. She nicely showcases the character of a mother, her firm philosophies of life and love for her son.
Half Girlfriend disappoints due to its excessive and flawed script, combined with the weak direction from Mohit Suri. Despite a good sense of music and impressive performances, the film doesn’t live upto the expectations.