Unconventional love story

Love between a boy hailing from a rural and Hindi speaking background and a girl brought up in an urban and English speaking background has been the subject of many a Bollywood film over the years.
While several films in the 60s and 70s and ‘like ‘Gopi’, ‘Poorab aur Paschim’ and ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ dealt with love between a village simpleton and a city bred modern girl, the last two decades also saw release of films like ‘Namastey London’ and ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ that dealt with a similar theme.
Mohit Suri’s ‘Half girlfriend ‘ is also about an unconventional love story between Madhav Jha , a boy brought up in Bihar and Rita Somani, a city bred English speaking girl. Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is a student hailing from the royal family of Bihar’s Simrao.
He has been brought up by his mother, who runs a school in the locality. Madhav gets admitted in Delhi’s St. Stephens College under the sports quota. In the college, he meets Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), a Delhi girl belonging to a rich family, and instantly falls in love with her.
What specially attracts him to Riya is the fact that she speaks fluently in English. Riya becomes friends with Madhav and the two bond over basketball, which is a common favourite of both of them. As they begin to go out together, Madhav thinks she is going on a date with him and slowly fall head over heels in love with Riya despite being aware that he will not be able to fit in her ‘English medium world’.
Riya clearly tells him that she cannot become his girlfriend but says she is willing to become his half girlfriend. Despite repeated warning by his close buddy (Vikrant Massey) that Riya saying that she is willing to become his half girlfriend is a tactics to use him for hanging out in cafes, cinema halls and playing basketball only, Madhav continues to be heads over heels in love with Riya. However, when Madhav tries to get physical, Riya stops talking to him and even drops out of the college!  She soon ties the knot with Rohan, a rich NRI guy and her childhood friend. As luck would have it , Madhav, stumbles upon a divorced Riya a few years later.
Meeting her rekindles his hope of Riya coming back to Madhav’s life. The rest of the film is about whether Riya eventually comes back to Madhav’s life. The film begins on an interesting note with the modern and English speaking Riya impressed by the cute mannerisms of Madhav and going out with him despite his lacking the English-speaking ability. Madhav’s antics while interacting with Riya bring an instant smile on your face. The first gaff us breezy .
However, the pace of the film slackers in the second half with the audience getting an impression that proceedings are being dragged on unnecessarily. Also, the climax of the film comes across as predictable.  In terms of performances, Arjun comes up with another class act as the ‘dehati'(rural) boy trying to make his way in the English-speaking environment of the St Stephens college. His efforts to impress the urban and sophisticated Riya come across as endearing. It is another brilliant act by him after ‘3 States’. Shraddha seems apt as the modern and English speaking Riya.
She looks stunning and comes across as a ‘diva’. Vikrant Massey impresses as Madhav’s friend who is concerned at his falling heads over heels in love with Riya and who is sceptical about her intentions. Rhea Chakraborty appears in a cameo and does a fine job. After Aashiqui 2′ and ‘Ek Villian’, Mohit Suri again impresses with ‘Half Girlfriend’ though he does lose the way somewhat in the second half. He has brilliantly etched out the characters of the two protagonists. He also manages to extract brilliant performances from the lead actors. The music of the film is nothing much to talk about though Arijit Singh mesmerised with ‘Main Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga’. Another song that stays with you is ‘Baarish’. ‘Half Girlfriend ‘ is another unconventional love story from the pen of Chetan Bharat. Rating:3.5/5 (one for the unconventional story, one for the performances by Arjun and Shraddha, one for Mohit Suri’s direction and 0.5 for music).