'Malang' has an unsatisfactorily flash first half: but still shows some promise on account of its dedication for proto-type 'Student of The Year' campus, and a niftily performing Vikrant Massey. Okay, the stage is set for an engaging second half. I was ready still to forget all what I saw in the first half and was prepared to delve in. But what I got in the second half was an excruciatingly unentertaining film with a bland Chetan Bhagat plot plastered onto it and a homegrown sense of melodrama that cannot work in any film this century. The director never gets right here. Arjun Kapoor is dumb as Madhav, and Shraddha is your standard urban girl.
The film's visual effects are bland and so sloppy that you want to close your eyes and sleep. As a critic I can't do that. All I can do is to give the film 1.5 stars and say that it is the worst Hindi film of 2017.
Good : Direction ( Good drama created in the first half ) , good music , Decent performance by the lead
weakness : second half gets too melodramatic , Predictable , dialogues are not too good , disappointing climax
If Mohit Suri's films are known for anything, then it's their soundtrack. The content of the films is usually rundown and uninspiring romance which sometimes even plays with the actors' careers. In this adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's bestselling young adult romantic novel Half Girlfriend, it looks like the thing about soundtrack may also be spiraling down.
Madhav (Arjun Kapoor) is a young student from Bihar who gets admitted to a reputable college in Delhi through sports quota. A skilled basketball player and amateur English speaker, Madhav falls head over heels in love with Riya (Shraddha Kapoor). And starts connecting with her with the hope to make her his girlfriend. Riya, herself an ace basketball player, reciprocates his connection requests, but plays mathematics when he pops the question. She says, "I can be your "half girlfriend"" and that she cannot go full. The story then moves forward to expose its undecipherable convoluted elements as Madhav tries to understand what that term really means.
The film strictly follows the plot of the 2014 book where Madhav is constantly in Riya's spell and is continuously trying to classify the type of relationship he is in (if at all), especially about which "half" he is in. With much attention given to the importance of English-speaking, the plot then suddenly flip flops between Bihar, Delhi, and New York, as the lead characters make rapid life decisions. Even if you do not understand why the characters do what they do, I'm sure you will notice the brand advertisements in every other frame. If one looks closer, the film looks like a 2-hour long advert for MakeMyTrip. And with my mentioning the brand in this review, I am sure the marketing budget of the bludgeoning Indian travels company has paid off.
The basic problem with the film is the character development. Arjun is unable to portray the true loverboy that Madhav is. Instead, he behaves like a magician's rabbit, always appearing where you think it would appear - around Riya. Shraddha, on the other hand - typecast, we call know - dilly dallies around in her scholar, fashionable, and affluent Riya character and exudes confusion. There's not a bit of realism in the proceedings, and in the second half, the degree of improbability hits the roof. One may like to call the story contrived, but there's an even better word for it: convoluted. Other big problem - and this one is crucial - is how the film is executed. This film is more of a musical than a steady romantic film - with a song or a montage appearing every five minutes. That is what wrecks the film's entertainment quotient as it fails to construct a proper, seamless storyline.
Both the Kapoors put up a below average show here, reminding us that Arjun may not be talented at all. Shraddha's previous films may save her, but the validity has definitely shortened. Seems Biswas looked out of character as Madhav's educationist mother, whereas both Vikrant Massey and Rhea Chakraborty do a fairly good job. The music by various artists is hummable, thanks to Arijit Singh and Anushka Sahaney. Rest of the filmmaking factors are best left unreviewed.
All in all, Mohit Suri's latest venture after the 2015 debacle Hamari Adhuri Kahani is worse. The romance is pulpy and unbelievable, for starters, and it's the last thing we are looking for in a year already giving us anxiety through the unpleasant world affairs. It automatically nominates itself to be ranked amongst the worst films of 2017.
BOTTOM LINE: Mohit Suri's "Half Girlfriend" fails to verify the theorem it so proudly boasts of, because modern love may be crooked, but not preposterous. Do not even read the book!
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO