Starring: Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor
Director: Mohit Suri
When a book is adapted into a film, the risks are higher and challenges greater for a director. He has to please the book’s loyal fans and also appeal to those who haven’t read the book. The task is, however, easier when it comes to a Chetan Bhagat novel since it already has all the masala ingredients of a typical Bollywood film.
As a novel, Half Girlfriend is a quintessential campus romance with the necessary heartbreak and reunion. So, the filmmakers too have played it safe and not made many changes to the novel. And they have a winner in their hands.
The story revolves around Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) from Simpur, a small village in Bihar, who is studying in St Stephen’s college in Delhi. He’s a basketball champ and falls head over heels in love with the college hottie, Riya Somani, who’s also a basketball player and closet singer.
But while Madhav is in love with Riya, she wants to take it slow and coins a new term for their relationship by calling herself his half girlfriend. Madhav forces Riya to get intimate but she refuses and after a brawl, they go their separate ways. And while Riya is all set to get married, Madhav is left heartbroken.
Two years later,they meet again in Patna, where a divorced Riya is a working woman and Madhav is seeking funds for his new school from the Bill Gates Foundation. Love rekindles between them as Riya begins to teach Madhav English. But she soon leaves him again saying that she has blood cancer and has only three months to live. You need to watch the film to know what happens next.
The film is clearly Arjun and Shraddha’s show. Shraddha looks stunning throughout the movie. Anaita Shroff Adajania’s styling is truly commendable. Whether it’s playing the rich girl dealing with messy parents or as a singer (which comes quite naturally to her), Shraddha owns this Mohit Suri film.
Equally, the film rests on Arjun’s shoulders. His act as the simpleton Madhav Jha is excellent. Although his Bihari accent is not up to the mark at times, he gets under the skin of his character. Watch him in the scenes where he takes Shraddha for a movie for the first time or when he tries to kiss her. Arjun should definitely do more love stories.
Vikrant Massey, who plays Arjun’s friend, also needs special mention. Seema Biswas as Arjun’s mother does what she’s best at – playing a whining mother and we’re not complaining.
As director, Mohit has played his cards smartly. He has got the right cast, has only made slight changes to the novel, and once again, he has a winning musical score. Main Phir Bhi Tumko Chahunga and Thodi Der Aur Theher Jaa are brilliant. Mohit has almost got another Aashiqui 2 in the film.
Overall, watch Half Girlfriend over the weekend. There may be nothing new in the story but there’s still that something special that you don’t want to miss.