So what, exactly, is a half-girlfriend?

Half Girlfriend- Chetan Bhagat

Don’t get me wrong. I have read all of Chetan Bhagat’s books so far. Lazy engineering students who spend more time listening to Floyd than attending class? Yes! Not so subtle regionalism and Mickey Mouse underpants? Amusing.

The problem here is that the character development has been replaced entirely by stereotypes, clichéd ones at that. The hero, Madhav Jha, is from Dumraon in Bihar. He goes to St Stephens in Delhi to study Sociology, and finds he can’t fit in because of his poor English. The heroine, Riya Somani, is a rich Marwari girl from Delhi pursuing her BA in English. So how do they even meet? They’re both sports quota admits, and basketball brings them together. This convenient plot point is forgotten almost immediately.

So boy meets girl, boy pursues girl, a tentative relationship ensues. Enter the clichés…

Poor little rich girl finds it hard to open up, because apparently privacy is a concept known only to the rich. Insecure village boy pressurizes her to get physical, and they break up. She promptly discontinues her degree to marry the first rich brat who comes along. Meanwhile, our hero heroically returns to his hometown to run a school.

A few unbelievable plot twists later, and our hero manages to learn English and moves to NYC to find Riya- on a hunch of course. Here the author takes pains to make sure the jump is not ridiculous. (‘Cause you need a visa to get to Amrika, everyone knows that!) So Madhav gets an internship with the Gates Foundation (!) and gives a visa interview before flying out.

Needless to say, he finds her, even in a city as huge and crowded as NYC. They return to hero’s hometown to run the school and live happily ever after.

1/5. Sir, you can do better.


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