Half girlfriend, full pakao
Cinematic adaptations of novels are hard to nab. After all, how does one aptly decipher someone's published imagination, apart from also condensing an entire book into a meager three-hours for reel, without losing the essence? Mohit Suri is certainly not the most capable filmmaker to do so. His previous outings, including Kalyug (2005), Woh Lamhe (2006), Aashiqui 2 (2013) and even Ek Villain (2014), have proved Suri is efficient in delivering films with intricate writing, but with Half Girlfriend, like his last outings Humari Adhuri Kahani (2015), the director seems to have lost the plot.
Half Girlfriend can leave a reviewer at a loss for words. It is regressive, silly and incoherent. The overwrought love story sinks due to a whirlpool of clichéd ideas that, unfortunately, form the crux of the film. Who is to be blamed, considering Chetan Bhagat's novel, on which this film is based, was no gem either. Adapting it was simply a bad idea.
The timid Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) struggles with English, but aspires to be inducted into an English-medium college. He meets the suave Shraddha Kapoor (Riya Somani), precisely at odds with him in demeanour, and despite the challenge in communication, desires to win her. They bond over basketball (a heavy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai hangover) and thus starts the one-sided college canteen romance. Madhav confesses his feelings, but Riya doesn’t want to commit. She only wants to be his 'half girlfriend'. What follows is a tiring search for one another across the world.
The films lacks two essentials. First, there is no visible chemistry between the leading actors. Their journey of falling in love is cut rather abruptly. Second, the love story isn't palpable enough. It's no wonder then that the convoluted mess, which goes on for over two hours, fails to tug at one's heart. The leading actors fail to lift the tempo of this snail-paced film, although Vikrant Massey, as Madhav's friend Shailesh, shines.
Half Girlfriend is full of loopholes. Madhav, for instance, is vocal about wanting to study Sociology at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, but sadly the makers failed to research enough to learn the course isn’t available there. Also, a blotched up job by the VFX team made Bill Gates's (also referred as Bill Gateva) special appearance seem rather miserable. Kapoor's efforts at delivering a heart-wrenching scene as Madhav makes an earnest confession, falls flat, given that the audience was evidently humoured by Gate's face shabbily pasted on someone. Finally, after watching Riya's poorly lip-synced songs, Justin Bieber would be having the last laugh.
Now, let’s talk about the good parts in Half Girlfriend. The thing is… forget it, let’s leave it half way.