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Half Girlfriend  : Half-baked
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Friday, May 19, 2017
Mohit Suri
Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Rhea Chakraborty, Adam Davenport

Apart from a catchy title, Chetan Bhagat’s book Half Girlfriend was a tepid read. But one hoped that director Mohit Suri would rescue it when he turned it into a film. Wishful thinking on my part for the insubstantial story could only take the form of an exhausting film.


The story can be condensed in one line: Bihari boy Madhav Jha who can’t speak English for nuts gets into the sophisticated St Steven’s College in Delhi on a sports quota and loses his heart forever to richie-rich Riya Somani, the hottest girl on the campus.


Believe me, that’s it. That’s the story. The rest is a chase on different locations until Madhav gets the girl who inexplicably weaves in and out of his life.


Sometimes a slim story could have an interesting screenplay. But Mohit Suri and author Chetan Bhagat who contributed to the writing, run out of reasonable steam right there on the campus. To begin with, one can’t fathom why Madhav would feel out of place in the uber chic college when it’s crammed with boys who speak just like him. It’s an outdated campus anyway where the entire student body waits outside Madhav’s room when he takes Riya in, and when she comes out, they go, ‘Madhav, Madhav’ like he’s won the world cup for manliness.


It’s also a mystery why Madhav, even after graduating from St Steven’s, can’t speak a single sentence in English. But his roommate who also spouted Hindi on the campus speaks it with ease in New York.


Mohit Suri’s direction is unbelievably  flat. There’s an overdose of Madhav and Riya knocking their knuckles together and a tiresome repetition of the dialogue ‘Haar ko harao’. There’s too much of rain, perhaps left over from Aashiqui 2. Husbands bashing up wives seems a favourite marital situation and divorce is still treated like a disease. There’s inconsistency too. In a scene where Madhav runs out of class to meet Riya at India Gate, it’s suddenly evening with lights twinkling. And like an uninspired copy of La La Land, he has Riya running to the terrace of India Gate for a beautiful visual of the city.   


Shraddha Kapoor looks pretty but Arjun Kapoor looks too hefty to be on any sports quota and wears one tragic expression right through. In fact it’s Vikrant Massey as his friend Shailesh who turns in a more effective performance.


With a variety of composers, there are a couple of numbers like ‘Baarish ki pani’ and ‘Tu hi toh hai’ which are pleasant but nothing chartbusting about it.


For a romance that lacks spark, Half Girlfriend gets a 2* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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