Half-Girlfriend: Half-Hearted Execution Led by a Half-Baked Plot
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Mohit Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahani had all the elements to make for a poignant tale but an incomplete and underwhelming narrative lead it to its sinking fate. Just like Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Half Girlfriend too carries shades of engrossment. But in efforts to take point from Chetan’s Bhagat’s half hearted writing, Suri’s screenplay too suffers a half-baked and shallow approach. This overlay of insincerity is the reason for Half Girlfriend’s land sliding failure.
Half Girlfriend follows a run of the mill boy-meets-girl storyline. Madhav Jha, a hindi-speaking, middle-class bihari falls in love with an english-speaking, elite delhiite, Riya Somani. She is clearly out of his league, but a common interest for basketball brings them together. To make a transition from friendship to romance, he gathers up the courage to ask her out. She dismisses his love and proposes to be his half-girlfriend. Henceforth, the journey of their complicated and chaotic on again-off again relationship forms the rest of the story.
Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend by itself is no captivating tale, but whatever little intensity it manages to hold is further watered down by Mohit Suri’s inconsistent and confusing direction. From the beginning, it seems as though the director worked on the script, under the assumption that the audiences would be well-versed in Bhagat’s novel. This assumption leads to the undertaking of one too many abrupt and misleading liberties in the story-telling. The film jumps from one sequence to another in a hasty and blunt manner leaving behind an array of unsteady proceedings.
Moreover, the scenario, staging and execution of Half-Girlfriend reek of inauthenticity. Every aspect is shallow and put on. Even the depiction of Madhav and Riya bears so many clichés and melodrama in the form of their dialogues and costumes. Right before the climax sequence, the manner in which we learn of Riya’s deceptive illness is written so carelessly. Somehow, these half-baked elements executed in a half-hearted manner never manage to pull you into the story. Not once do you find yourself routing for any of these characters.
Arjun Kapoor never fits effortlessly well into Madhav Jha’s shoes. Sure, he does play against type but this attempt should be deemed unsuccessful due to multiple prevailing mishaps. His Bihari accent comes across as forced and inconsistent, he lacks the body language of an actual basketball player and most of all his character is written too superficially to be intriguing in flesh and blood.
By now, you know Shraddha Kapoor will be casted into any role that involves even a little bit of singing. As is the result of typecasting, she never sees through her role as Riya Somani in a justifiable manner. All that angst Riya supposedly holds inside her never seeps through Shraddha Kapoor’s expressions. The wild and eccentric side of her character also never comes to fruition due to a lack of depth in the portrayal.
Most of Suri’s films have heartwarming music but sadly, Half Girlfriend lacks the presence of good music as well. The songs are way too familiar to woo you and the western song is especially annoying.
Vishnu Rao’s cinematography resembles the visual qualities of an Advertisement. There are no shadows enclosing darkness and no depth drawing you into its realistic dimensions. Everything is unnecessarily picture perfect.
On the whole, Half Girlfriend bears a half-baked plot led by half-hearted execution. If you prefer to be a witness to moving love stories, by all means give this a miss.