Remember actor Siddharth’s tweet that sparkled a major debate on stalking women?
Have a look-
This is exactly what this week’s new release showcases on the celluloid. An adaption of Chetan Bhagat’s novel on the same name, Half Girlfriend is two films rolled into one. The first film is about a boy from Bihar named Madhav Jha (played by Arjun Kapoor), part-unapologetic, part-sheepish about his rustic demeanor and inability to communicate in English. The second one shows the same boy persistently stalking our female protagonist Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), the most desirable girl of the college they both study in.
Over the last few years, filmmakers have developed the tendency to juxtapose their screenplays into the past and the present (Befikre, Meri Pyaari Bindu and now this one), with little heed to meticulousness. Take this draconian blemish for instance- The film, set in the present time, goes five years in flashback and we get a scene where Riya and Madhav are watching The Jungle Book. Cut to the present day, Madhav is in New York and watching Ae Dil Hai Mushkil with Rhea Chakraborty (In a insubstantial role). Highly indigestible as both of them released in the same year. But then, we hardly make any film that doesn’t require suspension of disbelief.
Both the Kapoors are likable and have an innocent, charming chemistry but even when you want to root for them, Suri’s indulgences creep in. How? Here it is- Madhav is all set to deliver a speech in English to Bill Gates (prepared with laughably gaudy VFX) but chooses to speak in his mother tongue as it connects straight to the heart. However, as soon as the speech ends, Madhav rushes straight to Riya but is interrupted by a bunch of enthusiastic children, with the song Main Phir Bhi Tumko Chahoonga playing in the background. Suri, it seems, was so enamored by his penchant for music, he robbed off the entire dramatic potential of this scene.
And it is dispiriting to see an actor like Seema Biswas being reduced to a melodramatic caricature. One should revisit Bandit Queen and realize the powerhouse of talent she is.
When the film’s about to end, we see Shraddha Kapoor giving the same advice to her daughter what Madhav’s mother gave to him- “Haar se haaro mat, haar ko harao,” but the camera swiftly moves to Arjun Kapoor, elated with his dream being fulfilled, and the credits begin to roll. Wouldn’t it have been more heartwarming and endearing to see both the leads in the film’s final frame? But then, the makers perhaps wanted to do something hatke. Just like how Ayan Mukherji ended Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, with a tight close-up of Ranbir Kapoor, despite Deepika Padukone right there in his arms.
Final Verdict? Well, Madhav struggles with his speech and says he won’t be able to deliver without Riya, she responds-“Madhav, you’re half-way through.”
So is the film, it only reaches halfway.
P.S- Watch out for Vikrant Massey, he shines even when the film has already begun to fade.