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movie reviewHalf Girlfriend

Half Girlfriend Movie Poster
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Critic's Rating:

Star Cast:

Arjun Kapoor, Rhea Chakraborty, Seema Biswas, Shraddha Kapoor

Story

Madhav meets a girl named Riya and falls in love. After stuggling to convince her to be his girlfriend, she half heartedly agrees to be his "Half Girlfriend"

Movie Review

By Noyon Jyoti Parasara

Madhav Jha is probably one of the more interesting characters we have seen in Hindi cinema in a while. He is from a small town who gets admitted in a premiere Delhi college so that he can learn better, go back and serve his own village, help it progress. He is almost a new-age Mohan Bhargav (remember Swades?), except his motivation is not quite the same as Mohan. In his quest, Madhav goes through his own set of struggle, the biggest of it being his incapability to communicate in English.


It is a tragedy hence that Madhav Jha is reduced to a hapless lover even as his primary aim takes a backseat. Played by Arjun Kapoor, Madhav Jha keeps repeating how his mum always taught him never to give up and which is why he refuses to give up on his love… his ‘half girlfriend’. Indeed as a love story, this comes across as a sugar-dipped tale. Undying love and all that… but when a story promises to talk about the Hindi-English divide, education for all and progress, heightened focus on a mushy love story never has an explanation.

Of course, the film is just an adaptation of the book by the same name and has the writer as the producer. And it sticks as close to the book as possible, except with a few structural changes in the screenplay to make it more dramatic. And irrespective of how the story plays out, Madhav Jha, convincingly played by Arjun Kapoor, is its best part. It is not easy to play a character that shifts tonality of a language depending on the person he/she is talking to. And Arjun nails it as he talks with a restrained Bihar accent.

The rest of the film is not quite on par. Shraddha Kapoor as Riya Somani has flashes of good and moments of bad. She gets the older version of her character much better as she sobers down.

As mentioned earlier Half Girlfriend is primarily a love story. And like any film directed by Mohit Suri, it is told through a number of songs. He chooses to play out songs in English as well and Hindi, keeping them real to his lead characters. But at times the songs make the screenplay drab than emotional.

The film never manages to brew enough interest; especially it never manages to make the audience rally for Madhav Jha. Things should get a little worse for people who have read the book. The director might have done better had he added to the film stuff that's not available in the book, like in the case of 3 Idiots.

Apart from Arjun, the film has stellar performances from Vikrant Massey and Seema Biswas. The later has a pretty short role, but adds tremendous impact to scenes she is present in. Vikrant plays the roommate of the protagonist and he is spot on. He adds much of the fun to the first half, which is far more cohesive than the post interval part.

Also, the film does pack in a fairly large message for women empowerment, including PM Modi’s ‘Beti Padhao Beti Bachao’ slogan, which brings in some seriousness to it. But moments like the one where they show badly morphed Bill Gates undo the good ones. In fact, let us assure you, the scene with Bill Gates is easily one of the funniest scenes you may have seen in ages. Unintended comedy of course!

Half Girlfriend is your weekend watch if you cannot get over mushy love stories. Loverboy Arjun Kapoor trying to convert his half girlfriend into his life partner could engage you just about enough. If you seek more, you can let this Mohit Suri film pass.