“Once upon a time there was a Bihari boy called Madhav. He fell in love with a girl called Riya. Madhav didn’t speak English well. Riya did. Madhav wanted a relationship. Riya didn’t. Riya just wanted friendship. Madhav didn’t. Riya suggested a compromise. She agreed to be his half-girlfriend. ”
Now what does the title half girlfriend means? Half Girlfriend = Imaginary girlfriend. Now, going by the miniscule excerpt that comes with the announcement of the new book, an average straight Indian man possibly has at least half a dozen ‘half girlfriends’. You know the girls you ‘wanna’-ed be ‘frndz’ with, the girl you asked out at the college fest, the colleague who won’t take up your movie-date offer and the five girls from friends’ cousin’s classmate’s friend-list you went ahead and added on Facebook. Surely that ought to make them at least half a girl-friend. So being snubbed is now equal to becoming a half-boyfriend. This possibly means you get no dating rights, but if you post ‘cool pics swty’ on the new kitten picture on her timeline, it will not be counted as creepy. Two, Half Girlfriend = anyone who is stupid. Like, “Oh my god, is she a half-girlfriend or what?” Get the drift?
Consider the plotline of Bhagat’s story: despite not wanting to be in a ‘relationship’ with Madhav, despite Madhav being insistent that he wants nothing less than a ‘relationship’ and its attendant rights, said girl Riya goes ahead and offers a “compromise”. Because there is nothing unsafe or worrying about befriending a man who won’t take no for an answer, who won’t respect a woman’s decision to choose her boyfriend, who would rather not be friends if he doesn’t get the right to WhatsApp goodnight kiss emoticons to the object of his desire. Now Riya may well be a stellar example of a humanitarian, she doesn’t score very high in the intelligence department. Unless of course her half-girl friendship terms include free popcorn, bike rides home on demand, and loyal FB display picture ‘likes’ clauses. Now coming to the movie, After flooding our timelines with numerous stills and posters from the makers of Half Girlfriend revealed the first trailer of the film on 10th April morning. The trailer opens with Arjun, aka Madhav Jha, struggling to speak English during his entrance interview at St Stephen’s College in Delhi. Soon, he meets his prospective “Half Girlfriend” Riya (Shraddha). While Arjun gets his act right as the small-town boy landing straight in the cool universe of Delhi University, his accent spoils it. If there is one genuine aspect in this nearly three-minute-long video, it is actor Vikrant Massey. He has earlier worked in TV shows Balika Vadhu and Qubool Hai. The Mohit Suri-directed film stars Shraddha Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor in the lead roles. Half Girlfriend is an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s best-seller by the same name. Will it be a hit? The trailer doesn’t give you an impression that this is going to be a movie worth watching. It’s going to be another college film where women are shown to be shallow and disengaged with the realities of the country and the man is a pining love-struck hero waiting to upturn the social order.
We must say Arjun Kapoor has done a good job of imitating Bhojpuri because that is exactly what he looks like doing — his accent sounds every bit acquired, forced and fake. The interview panellists Mr Jha (Arjun Kapoor) appears for an admission into “St Steven’s” – really? – Which looks all too welcoming (rehearsed) to accept Mr Jha’s Hindi with a fake-Bhojpuri accent? The interviewers (English) accent too is equally forced. Shraddha Kapoor looks great but then that’s what is she supposed to look like — “top ki ladki”, “bawaal”. Of course, all female college toppers are called “toppers” because of their looks, isn’t it? Also, all hot girls are nothing but devils who prey on innocent, naive boys — “yeh bas tumko ghumayegi”. Ria Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) “wanna” play half court (basketball), “wanna” be Madhav’s half girlfriend, Arjun Kapoor “wanna” speak half Bhojpuri and Mohit Suri “wanna” make a half-joke of a movie. The film, which intends to raise the issue of society’s discriminatory attitudes based on what language one speaks, ends up discriminating against Delhi college girls, whose only purpose it seems is to give boys a major fashion and elitism complex. I feel, Half Girlfriend trailer shows the movie is going to be half baked. But till then lets wait and watch.