STARRING: ARJUN KAPOOR, SHRADDHA KAPOOR
DIRECTOR: MOHIT SURI
The man is back. Another novel, another film. This has to be some kind of achievement to have almost all of his books converted into a Bollywood potboiler. You may not like it but Chetan Bhagat has tasted some incredible success as well. However, with his latest film turned novel, Bollywood may have gone too far. Please excuse the pun (can’t resist), Half Girlfriend is not even half watchable.
It is almost scary to think that how desperate do you need to be to be scraping such bottom of the barrel. Someone actually thought that it would be a good idea to make a film based on a novel which uses ‘Deti hai toh de, warna kat le’ as a legitimate plot point. I am not one of those CB haters who just lambast the author for the sake of it. I was a fan at one point and thoroughly enjoyed his books but this has got to be one of his lows. Hence, it is incredibly difficult to fathom that minds like Mohit Suri and Ekta Kapoor thought of adapting this garbage and unfortunately, remain incredibly faithful to the book.
The book is bad and the story pathetic and boring, therefore, the writers had an incredibly difficult task of making a watchable screenplay. And to be fair to the writers, they have tried their level best. The narration is such that it gives you a pretense of a plotline. In fact, the interval portion also remotely holds your attention. But ultimately, the source material is so lacking in substance that no force one earth can save the film. The film drags along and goes nowhere. The characters are so annoying that you have never have any interest in their story.
The romance is lackluster. The fault is partly of the writing which is tedious and partly because the chemistry between the lead couple is totally missing. If you see the Chetan Bhagat films that have worked have been mostly those which have succeeded in translating the humor and lightness between the lines on screen (3 Idiots, Two States) and ones which have not worked have been those which do not incorporate these elements. (Hello!) Agreed that this book had hardly any redeemable factor but still the lightness and frothiness was clearly needed in the narration but the film takes itself too seriously. It wants to be an intense love story spanned across years but just does not have enough gravitas to pull it off.
It is disheartening to see Mohit Suri doing such a bad job. If I had any hopes from the film it was because it was Suri helming the film. But even he fails miserably. If you think about it, an obsessive lover, a damaged girl, this was right up Mohit’s alley. However, he just cannot deliver this time around. His heavy-handed narration makes the film even more tedious and he cannot lift the film from its tediousness and cliché. The emotional core which has always been Suri’s strength is extremely superficial. Nothing goes right in the first half and the second half only works intermittently. The last fifteen minutes of the film have Mohit Suri stamp all over it but its too late by then. If you want to know how wrong he Suri has gone with this film then just look at the Bill Gates sequence in the film. Either the director predicted the fate of the film and just didn’t care at that point or had some really bad advisors around who thought that looked okay. Shabby is not even a word for that.
Performance wise there is nothing much to talk. Full points for Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor for sincerity and determination to keep a straight face while mouthing dialogues like ‘I can be you half girlfriend.” But otherwise they fail to impress. Arjun is terribly one toned and his accent is possibly the most irritating thing in the film. Shraddha cannot rise above the terribly annoying character and just maybe it is not her fault. Vikram Massey on the other hand impresses as Arjun’s friend and is gets it just right.
Music is the only redeemable factor of this affair. Much like other Mohit Suri films, the films rely heavily on the songs and they do not disappoint.
When half your energy is wasted in toning down the crassness, racism and callowness from a source material then maybe you should have given it more thought before adaption. Half Girlfriend is every bit senseless as its name and the thought (if any) behind it. Not worth half your money or any of your time.