MUMBAI, May 19: Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) a rustic boy from Bihar who is drawn to his college-mate, Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), an affluent English-speaking girl from Delhi. There’s just one hitch here. Riya is willing to go thus far and no further; Madhav continues being obsessed with her. Will the Bihar boy and the Delhi girl make it past the half-way mark?
The assumption that many have read Chetan Bhagat’s 2014 novel of the same name should be a safe one because Bhagat’s fluff has its own following. But, Half Girlfriend is definitely not one of his best works. So, Mohit Suri (Aashiqui2, Ek Villain) gives us a celluloid outing that is thoda fun and largely exasperating.
The fun bit comes from watching the Simrao boy (pronounced bai) struck by a thunderbolt when he spots the Delhi dame. And the brave attempts chalk makes in going for cheese is also endearing. Imagine this; he can barely speak a smattering of English and she behaves like she is a rather late-in-the day British import. Yet, it’s understandable that they find an escape in basketball and music. Before long, Madhav’s infatuation becomes a fatal attraction. His college-buddy Shailesh(Vikrant Massey, pitch-perfect performance) warns him of the danger of driving into a one-way street but Madhav, who is perennially in Majnu mode by then, pays no heed.
The frustrating bit for Madhav and for the audience is that Riya is commitment-phobic. Her dost se zyada but girlfriend se kum stance seems non-negotiable and stops you from investing in her halfway through the film.
Back to apna Madhav, fate smiles on him a couple of times later when his path crosses that of Riya’s. And he chases her from Patna to New York (even dragging Bill Gates into proceedings) with a doggedness that should appeal to the countless stalkers, who shame society every day.
The first half breezes through, but post interval proceedings hang; in tandem with the hangdog expression worn by the hero. Arjun is sincere, but seems too urban for an ideal `Bihari’ fit. And Shraddha, who looks her loveliest here, lacks gravitas.
As far as the ensemble music album goes--Manoj Muntashir’s Phir Bhi Main Tumko Chahoonga, the only track that has real recall is lyrically-adequate but Mithoon’s tune is not compelling enough. Finally, half girlfriend or boyfriend is that person many of us have encountered on campus. However, do we really want to relive those memories? It depends entirely on the mood.(TOI)
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