Book Review: Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend and why you will read it

When you burn your tongue with the first sip of hot double shot coffee, you tend to feel the singe of one too familiar after taste. While this would remain for a couple of days, you would be munching tasteless food while your brain doesn’t understand what you are eating and once in a while you should check your plate to see if it is really the same as what your eyes see. You feel bad but you neither skip coffee nor stop munching food.

When you pick up a Chetan Bhagat novel, you expect to have something new, something amazing and some interesting plot that would keep you mesmerized, teases you, tickles you and engages you in a philosophical dialogue and motivates you in such a tremendous way that you are inspired! Wait! That is not Chetan Bhagat I was talking about. You know what you can expect from a Chetan Bhagat novel. Now that you have removed the sugar coating, you can dust off the last few particles of genius-like-fruitiness; expect what you can get when the title is – ‘Half Girlfriend.’

Like I agreed we don’t skip coffee or stop munching, Chetan’s works are like a second bowl of popcorn. You know you have had enough but are not easily going to skip them. I pre-ordered ‘Half Girlfriend’, paid 37 bucks more and got it yesterday. Here is the review.

Plot: Take a bit of Three Mistakes, problems mentioned in Satyameva Jayate, imagine a non-English type village boy (like what Arjun Kapoor desperately tries to enact) who is a state level basketball player??? coming to Delhi with small iron trunk to join St. Stephen’s. Meet Riya, a rich girl who hates her money-clogged-parents-home and is looking for an escape to a real-rural-self-proclaimed-admiration for poor life where she wants to make fame on her own! Madhav hates poverty and wants to be rich. Riya wants to live a normal life with her own name and dignity. As the book specifies, Madhav and Riya don’t want the same thing. Madhav wants Riya to love him. She is confused. Riya is okay being a half-girlfriend. Hugs okay, kisses okay, cuddling okay. Nothing more okay?

Madhav tries to make out with her but she sticks to her half-girlfriend theory. He cusses her and she walks out of the relationship. He gets a 50k/month salary from HSBC in 2007 because he is honest! (No I didn’t see this in 3 idiots. Trust me it is a new plot. I have tears in my eyes. Someone pass me a tissue). He doesn’t take it and goes back to being the rural poor prince he is to take care of his school for his mom and spends time teaching poor kids. A noble cause stolen from the Satyameva Jayate, TaareZameen Par like twist and is rewarded when he gets a chance to get some funds from Bill Gates and succeeds.

Enter Riya back from her small but personal honeymoon-wedding-divorce while Madhav is trying to learn English in a private coaching class and Riya tries to teach him English and succeeds. A good story would end here. But Chetan wants a story after the interval too. So Enter Madhav’s mom who chides her to get out of her son’s life. Riya runs away and how Madhav recovers his life, wins lakhs of rupees in funds from Bill Gates foundation and travels to USA (too many Telugu/Tamil movies have shown this already) to find the love of his life. If you stay back till the end, you will find hope in a New York bar with live music.

Wait! Don’t you like the story? Want some suspense? Let us make the hero run for the last 10 minutes of the film and put a song, a slow but romantic dark melody that ensures you have tears in your eyes while the hero’s shoes hurt, feet splinter and blood oozes from the shoes and he reaches just in the nick of the moment. Now get out of here. You have had enough for the 150 bucks you paid for this film. What?!!! I haven’t added a love making scene. Ya. They make love in about 20 words. No space you see!

While I know Chetan would have already pictured Kriti Sanon in the film and would have decided how to make her look taller than she is, he must be counting 300 crores he would get for the film deal. Wait! I think the book would have made him a 100 crore too.

To be concise: The book is fat, Chetan. I would have loved to read some 50 pages less and could do away with the preachy tone in some places. I liked it but as a… how do I say it… forget it, I liked it.

If there is a positive note I have to write about the book, it shows how village grown Madhavs can make out and win over the richest girls and win over anything in their life if they just don’t give up. Yes. Don’t give up yet! The second one is bringing back basketball to Indian cinema. When did Kajol lose to Sharukh last?

Will I pick up the next book from Chetan? Did you give up on coffee?

Rating: 1/5

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