When Chetan Bhagat (an alumnus of my Alma Mater, IIM Ahmedabad) crafted his first novel FIVE POINT SOMEONE, he (by design or default, and I would like to believe it was by design) made an immediate impact because every English speaking reader (and particularly IITians) could relate to the characters in the script and there was nothing “filmy” about it. It required a genius like Raju Hirani to weave a suitable filmy tale based on that plot to create 3 IDIOTS. But that happened in 2009, a full five years after the book was published. His second novel, ONE NIGHT AT A CALL CENTRE was quite readable, but was hurriedly made into a poor movie in 2008. His third effort, THE THREE MISTAKES OF MY LIFE was also well received, and there was once again nothing filmy about it. By the time he was writing his next book TWO STATES (published in 2009), he must have got a whiff of how Raju Hirani was in the process of creating that fab movie loosely based on his first book, and introduced a filmy slant to that book. After the success of 3 IDIOTS, Chetan Bhagat, has no doubt been writing about characters who are very easily relatable, but he has fallen into the trap of trying to make the books read more like film scripts. HALF GIRLFRIEND, which he wrote in 2014 falls into that category. But if you see what he was actually wanting to convey, you will see that this is something which a non-English speaking person from our hinterland in an alien environment goes through. I reproduce what Chetan has had to say about this: Half-Girlfriend, to me, is a unique Indian phenomenon, where boys and girls are not clear about their relationship status with each other. A boy may think he is more than friends with the girl, but the girl is still not his girlfriend. Hence, I thought we needed a term like ‘Half girlfriend’. Because, in India, that is what most men get.
Unfortunately, the movie is not just based on the book; it follows it closely enough to become a pathetic experience for the viewers. Even the actors look half involved: Arjun Kapoor looks half urban and half rural, Shraddha Kapoor looks half confused! Mohit Suri made moderate successes of trivial stories like in Aashiqui 2 and the Raaz series, but there were no great expectations and there were wonderful songs. The music in HALF GIRLFRIEND is not bad, but it is just half as good as that in Aashiqui 2. There’s a me too song like the famous TUM HI HO number sung by the same Arijit and composed by Mithoon. But for that, you can listen to the audio.
We were taught at an early stage in school, that any positive number multiplied by another positive number produces a result which is at least as big as one of those numbers as long as the number is not a fraction. If it is a fraction, a fraction mulplied by another fraction will give a result lesser than either fraction. So in HALF GIRLFRIEND, you have everything which is half or less…so you know the result!
And if I were to make a jibe at one of the leading dialogues in the movie, I would rate this movieas : Ek se Zyaada, par do se kam!
RATING: 1.5 out of 5
May 18, 2017