Producers: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Mohit Suri
Writers: Ishita Moitra Udhwani (dialogues)
What's Yay: The music (barring the English songs) come as a breather when you are least impressed with what's happening on screen.
What's Nay: Mediocre performances, dragging plot, bland direction
Popcorn Refill: A quick trip to the loo or for a popcorn refill won't do much harm!
Iconic Moment: Looking for some laughs amidst the romance? Watch out for the scene where Bill Gates is seen listening to Madhav's speech in Dumraon. The bad patch-up work done to show Gates will surely evoke some unintentional laughs!
When you find the name Chetan Bhagat rolling in the start credits, you already know what you have signed up for! Nevertheless for those who haven't read the novel, here's how the plot unravels...
Half Girlfriend opens with a heart-broken Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) who learns that Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) has left him. The film then rewinds back to the time when they first met at St. Stephen's college in Delhi.
Madhav is a Hindi speaking boy from Patna who has secured a seat in the college under sports quota. On the other hand, Riya is a posh city-bred girl who has an affinity for 'rains'. It's love at first sight for Madhav on the basketball court. His friends caution him that 'bawaal' Riya is out of his league. But Madhav has his mommy's advice to reckon upon- 'haaro mat ... haar ko harao'.
Pretty soon, Madhav and Riya become good friends as they both share a common interest- basketball. A typical love story of a poor-guy-falls-in-love-with-a-stinky-rich-girl is just cooking up. But hey, there's a catch! Riya has set the rules straight. 'Main tumhari girlfriend nahin. But I can be your half girlfriend', she tells Madhav and the poor lad is too dazzled to react.
While they are trying to fit into this new relationship, one day our Romeo, provoked by his friends to test Riya's 'love' tries to get touchy-feely with her in his room. When Riya tries to rebuke his advances, he throws in a crassy line, 'Deti hai toh de varna kat le' and almost ends up phyically assaulting her.
Time to break up! Riya decides to settle down with her childhood buddy Rohan. Madhav meanwhile is left with a broken heart.
Enter a major life transition. Madhav, still suffering from pangs of separation, returns to his hometown Simraon. He decides to devote his life to worthwhile causes, like improving the village school, and taking up English lessons so he can get a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
But hey what's a love story without a twist! Enter Riya Somani who is now a divorcee. Will old feelings be rekindled or will she be Madhav's 'Half Girlfriend' forever?
Mohit Suri's last film Hamari Adhuri Kahaani had me pulling my hair in despair when he reduced the super talented Vidya Balan to a crying banashee in the film. Two years later, the man returns back to the spotlight with Half Girlfriend.
While Bhagat's novel isn't a piece of pure literature with a great storyline, the filmmaker too doesn't get a bigger playground to display his directorial skills in terms of plot. His characters are superficial and fail to keep you engrossed. They just seem to be fleeting in and out of the scene without evoking any emotions in you.
Arjun Kapoor is miscast as Madhav Jha. His struggle to get the Bihari accent right is quite evident throughout the film. Barring a scene or two, he fails to make a mark.
Shraddha Kapoor does what she usually does in all her films. She flutters her eyelashes, strums a guitar and pretends to lip-sync a terrible English song that's more like a noise.
Vikrant Massey starts off on a promising note only to be saddled down by a poorly-sketched role. One wonders what's a talent like Seema Biswas doing in the film? Rhea Chakraborthy is wasted in her cameo role.
The lacklustre screenplay doesn't catch your attention. Outdated dialogues like 'Kuch cheezein aisi tootati hai ki unka doobara judna possible nahi hota ... sirf daraarein reh jaati hai' masquerade as poetic lines.
Vishnu Rao's cinematography works fine with the film but one wished that the editing scissors would have been a bit more sharper to avoid the jarring narrative.
'Phir Bhi Tumko Chahunga', 'Baarish' and 'Tu Hi Hain' stand out in the album. On the other hand, the English tracks are a complete disappointment and stick out like a sore thumb.
Mediocre performances and sluggish pace play a major spoilsport in Half Girlfriend as director Mohit Suri seems to have taken the 'half' in the film's title a tad too seriously.
The film has a couple of instances where Riya (Shraddha) is seen crooning 'Stay A Little Longer'. Wonder if that was meant for the restless lot of us who were waiting for the end credits to roll soon!