Chetan Bhagat is happy that his fifth book, Half Girlfriend, is getting adapted on the celluloid. And this is special also because Chetan has turned producer with this Mohit Suri directorial. He calls his stories fast-paced and page-turners that render well into a film. As Half Girlfriend starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor nears its release date, Chetan is both excited and nervous.
“It’s good everytime it happens and the films in the past have done well. There is a bit of nervousness because there is a lot of expectations. But obviously it feels good, because it’s finally coming out, so I’m very excited,” Chetan said during an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
From being a banker to author and now turning producer, Chetan Bhagat’s journey has been quite a diverse one. “I was there during all 80 days when the film was shot. I was there to help out structure, costs, things like that, things which I have never done in my life actually. So that was interesting and it was something for which I could use my banking skills from my past. So that was nice,” he said.
Half Girlfriend is the story of a guy from Bihar named Madhav Jha and a girl from Delhi named Riya Somani, who meet during their college days at the Delhi University. When Chetan’s book Half Girlfriend released in 2014, it received a backlash for portraying Biharis in a certain light. But, Chetan begs to differ. He says he has always shown sensitivity while writing his characters.
“I have always shown sensitively, whether it’s in Kai Po Che (Gujaratis), in 2 States (Punjabis and Tamilians) and in this one there are Biharis. So I have never done an extreme caricaturing of any sort. They don’t speak in a stereotypical manner or anything like that. And especially in the film there is a lot of respect given to them. The intention is to lift the image of Bihar.”
Chetan further rejected claims that his latest film was about being “friendzoned”, something that has become a hot cake after Karan Johar explored it in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil last year.
“It’s about when love goes half way, somewhere in between. In friendzone, only one person is in love, the other person is not. But Half Girlfriend is where you have feelings, but it is not enough to give you a full relationship. It is a little more than being a friend,” he explained.
Chetan revelaed that the theme of Half Girlfriend came to him by observing youngsters today who make a lot of relationships which are half-way in nature. They are temporary, and non-committal kind of relationships. “They are somewhere in between full and nothing. So I thought we needed a term like half,” he said.
The writer was all praise for director Mohit Suri and his emotional bent of mind, which added to the film’s basic plot. “He has put three years of his life and he probably knows the story better than me today… I think he got the emotional string. It is a very emotional love story and I think he has got that right,” Chetan said.
So what’s next from the pen of Chetan? Will it be a romantic novel again, or will he take up filmmaking full time? “There is going to be more books. They are my priority. Films come later. I have not been able to think because I have really been busy with the movie for now…. Let May 19 come (when the film releases) and then I can tell after that,” he signed off.