Rating: 2.5 Stars
Half entertaining – This is how Half Girlfriend turns out to be, which is sad because it started on a note that made one believe that entertainment would flow right through the course of the film. However as it turns out, after a good beginning and a largely engaging first half with a good interval point, the Mohit Suri adaptation of the Chetan Bhagat novel goes into so many tangents that it is unimaginable how it all could have been thought to come together in a film’s narrative. May be a TV series could have done better justice to the storyline which had many episodes in it but when it all came together on the course of a film, it seemed all cramped.
Ironically, even that doesn’t really make Half Girlfriend a tightly woven fast paced affair. Instead, it turns out to be a lazy outing, primarily in the second half where story moves around between Patna, another small town in Bihar and then New York alternatively. This is where everything is thrown around, be it the tragedy of unrequited love (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil anyone?), ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (yup, really!), ‘shauchalaya in schools’ (a precursor to Toilet – Ek Prem Katha, I guess), life after divorce and believe it or not, Bill Gates no less.
With all of this happening in the film with the sole intent of keeping the love story going, the whole middle portion of Half Girlfriend gets totally spun all around. Thankfully, the last 20-25 minutes do have some moments thrown in where the love story returns on the scene and you do pine for the lovers to meet. Unlike some of the recent romcoms, most of which have been big disappointments (except for Badrinath Ki Dulhania), this one still has some level of engagement that makes it a better film. Moreover, music plays a good role in the narrative as well, especially the song ‘Thodi Der‘ which, though overdone, still stays with you. As a musical, Half Girlfriend does have music do well as an accompaniment to the narrative though how much do you wish that there were some solid scenes written to add weight to the first half.
That’s also because even though Arjun Kapoor seems to be royally ‘friend zoned’ by Shraddha Kapoor as his ‘Half Girlfriend’, somewhere in the corner of the heart you do believe that the twain shall meet. No wonder, the first half of the film turns out to be largely entertaining since you are reminded well of your campus days when just getting to interact with a girl was a dream come true for most of the regular guys around. More than this being an ‘ameer gareeb ki kahaani‘, it turns out to be coming together of two different classes that adds on to the relatibility factor.
What further helps this part of the film is a very earnest act of Arjun Kapoor who is superb in his dialogue delivery as a Bihari guy and also gets his body language and mannerisms right. The person who compliments him really well is Vikrant Massey who is very good. Their interactions make for some of the best scenes in the film. As for Shraddha Kapoor, she is reliably fine again though one waits to see her play a different kind of a part for a change. Also, though her character has some sort of spunk in the first half, it spirals into a familiar zone in the second half.
It is in fact this very familiarity quotient that makes Half Girlfriend good to begin with but then step into a characteristic zone in the second half. Though there is an attempt made to bring in several different layers to the narrative (as mentioned above), what could possibly have turned out to be better had the simplicity factor been retained right through the film.