By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 19, 2017
Rating: 3 / 5
The essence: Overall, Half Girlfriend leaves you with a good feeling. However, if the writing had been imaginative, the end could have been the winner!
Shraddha Kapoor brings in a rare innocence that hides a lot of sadness within her character that is longing for love. Riya Somani from St Steven’s College in Delhi is this bubbly girl, a basketball player, whose flaw is magnified in the very first scene by director Mohit Suri and noticed by Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor). She likes to run away from a situation instead of facing it. On Madhav’s prodding, she goes back on court to attack and score.
Till then, Madhav was unsure whether he wanted to continue in this college because the Board members insisted he speak in English and this lad from Bihar fumbles when it comes to speaking in the Queen’s language. Basketball and Riya’s innocence captures him and he finds a reason to continue in college.
Back home in Bihar, his mother, played by Seema Biswas, runs a school and Madhav has dreams of one day ensuring proper education for even the girl child.
Coming back to Madhav and Riya, both bond on and off the court and goaded by his friends, Madhav wants to know if this relationship is more than what he thinks it is. Riya is the only child from a well-off family whose father is a wife-beater. Riya immerses herself into music behind closed doors and finds a companion in Madhav even though they are poles apart. But when Madhav wants to know where he stands (vis-à-vis his relationship with Riya), she identifies her relationship with him as his ‘half girlfriend’. A misunderstanding later, she marries a boy of her parent’s choice and Madhav returns to Bihar, a morose lad.
Both run into each other in Patna when Madhav goes there to meet a team from the Bill Gates Foundation. He is looking for funding for his mother’s school. Riya is working with a multi-national.
He soon learns that Riya’s marriage lasted a few months and she is now on her own. Madhav tries again to woo Riya but before they can warm up, she runs away leaving him a note.
Torn from within, Madhav decides to take up Bill Gates’ internship offer in the hope of finding Riya in one of the night clubs in New York. She had expressed her desire to sing at a night club in one of their conversations. Does he find her? Or do his friends hook him up with another girl?
Half Girlfriend is palatable solely because of the vulnerability Shraddha brings to the screen. Arjun is getting monotonous in his body Language and dialogue delivery. Watch Ki & Ka to understand. Somehow I feel he is still stuck in the Parma (Ishaqzaade) mould.
Rhea Chakraborty comes in towards the fag end of the movie and leaves a lasting impression as the girl looking for love. Just when she finds the one who will make her feel special, she unknowingly ruins it with her own video!
Two soulful ballads are used intelligently as background scores by Suri: Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahungi and Stay a little longer with me baby.
On the flip side, Shraddha’s lip syncing early on are not in sync with the lyrics although she plays a natural progression of chords on the guitar: D A and Em. The boy scenes in the college hostel too, are a little overdone. And when Suri ropes in a reference to the Prime Minister, it sticks out like a sore thumb!
Overall, Half Girlfriend leaves you with a good feeling. However, if the writing had been imaginative, the end could have been the winner!
Producer: Balaji Motion Pictures
Director: Mohit Suri
Star Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Rhea Chakraborty, Vikrant Massey