Half Girlfriend – It’s for the Bollywood

By Sanjay Unni

As promised, flipkart delivered the most awaited book of India’s popular author, Chetan Bhagat’s, ‘Half Girlfriend’ on the day of release. I was disappointed as soon as I opened the book. They promised me the signed copy of the author, but I couldn’t find it. I moved to the next page, expecting Chetan Bhagat to help me regain happiness of reading a good ol’ story. Did he help? Let’s see.

Half Girlfriend – The love saga of Madhav and Riya, is divided into three parts. The story begins in Delhi St Stephen’s College, moves to the rural village of Dumraon (Bihar) and the climax is set in New York. As I went through the pages, I felt like I’m reading a screenplay not a novel. And no wonder, Mohit Suri (Director) bought the rights of the book even before it got released. Eventually someone would want to and being the first helps. Good job director!

As I mentioned, the story starts in St Stephen’s college in Delhi. It narrates the college life of Madhav Jha and Riya Somani. He has portrayed the scenes beautifully, as he is a master in narrating college stories. If cricket was the sport involved in “3 Mistakes of My Life”, here it is basketball. The game helps in establishing and further flourishing the relationship between the protagonists.

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The second phase is set up in Bihar. Mainly it revolves around “Dumraon Royal school”. This is the usual “reflection of society” that CB adds in all his novels. As he says, this is the change he wants to bring through his novels. The mindset of the villagers and the reasons for the illiteracy in that village has been brought out well. But in the middle, we find it a bit lagging and a twist awaiting us at the end. Interesting fact is Bill Gates does a guest appearance. Who thought?!

The climax is set in New York. This is the weakest link of the book. The hero goes in search of his lady love in New York. Now where have I seen that? I know! Varanam Aayiram! But in here, it isn’t as interesting as the movie. We feel like skipping the pages, to reach the end which we had predicted while we were 20 pages into the book.

Like his previous work, CB has written it in simple English. The reader won’t be confused with the plot and the characters. From the book, he has tried to convey two points.

1. The Class system – People who speak English fluently belong to the superior class while the others are inferior.

2. The New generation love – The confused couple, who don’t know what their status of relationship is.

He has partially succeeded in it. The climax and the anticlimax which is the main drawback, takes the story away from these and makes the novel mediocre.

Half Girlfriend is certainly not the best of CB. It’s a well prepared Bollywood screenplay rather than a novel; giving us multiple déjà vu of most movies we have seen. Perhaps he has thoughts of venturing into a full time Bollywood screen writer. Being a CB fan I keep this novel at the end of his collections.

My rating 2.5/5

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