Banners: Balaji Motion Pictures, Chetan Bhagat Entertainment
Producers: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Mohit Suri, Chetan Bhagat
Director: Mohit Suri
Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Rhea Chakraborty, Seema Biswas, Vikrant Massey, Anisa Butt
Writers: Chetan Bhagat (story), Tushar Hiranandani (screenplay), Ishita Moitra (dialogue)
Music: Mithoon, Tanishk Bagchi, Rishi Rich, Farhan Saeed, Ami Mishra, Rahul Mishra
Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) is a student who hails from the royal family of a little town in Bihar, Simrao. He has been raised by his mother, who runs a school in the locality. He gains admission to Delhi’s St Stephen’s College in the sports quota, where he meets Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor), a Delhi girl who hails from a rich family. She speaks fluent English and this impresses Madhav even more as he cannot speak English properly. Madhav instantly falls in love with her.
Gradually, they start hanging out together, which Madhav thinks is a date. But Riya clearly says she cannot become his girlfriend but consoles him by saying she is willing to become his ‘half girlfriend’, which Madhav’s friends understand as her tactics to use him to hang out in cafes, cinema halls and playing basketball. Their repeated warnings fall into deaf ears as Madhav is head over heels in love with Riya.
When Madhav tries to get physical, Riya storms out of the room, stops talking to him and even drops out of college and gets married to her childhood friend Rohan. However Madhav, stumbles upon a divorced Riya a few years later in Patna, where she works, and his hopes are rekindled. How their relationship evolves takes the story forward.
Directorially, Suri has taken a simple love story and projected it beautifully on the big screen. However, weak writing hampers this honest effort. The problem with the film is its half-baked script. However, for a love story to work with the audience, its narration should evoke empathy with the lovers. In this film, there is a seemingly compassionate and one-sided love and confusion at the other end. This definitely has the potential to connect with the youth. With excellent performances by the lead pair, the film is marred by its poor writing.
There are some sequences that are brilliant. For instance, the scene where Madhav talks to his mother about Riya; how Madhav waits for Riya in the hotel lobby; Madhav looking for Riya in New York and his emotional outbursts; and the scene where Bill Gates visits Madhav’s school are among the few highlights in the film.
Music and background score work along with the screenplay and they complement the narration. Costumes and locations are fabulous. Cinematography by Vishnu Rao is top notch. Editing by Devendra Murdeshwar is firm.
Performance-wise, Arjun Kapoor plays his part with the right balance of naivety and flamboyance. Kapoor is subtle and delivers an outstanding performance. Shraddha Kapoor delivers a stunning performance and she looks spectacularly beautiful. Seema Biswas is fabulous. Vikrant Massey impresses in places but his so loud in the first half of the film that it is very jarring. Anisa Butt is good. Rhea Chakraborty is stunning. The rest of the cast supports amply.
Verdict: Above Average!