Upcoming Rom-Com Trailers! Half-Girlfriend and Mere Pyaari Bindu

Yay, more rom-coms!  2016 was the year of serious patriotic historical dramas, but 2017 is looking decidedly more romantic.  Romantic and dramatic, none of that lightweight stuff like Befikre.  Which means I am watching these trailers going “wait, is something terrible going to happen or is this just a humorous misunderstanding?”

I have to admit, my interest in Meri Pyaari Bindu is still fairly tepid.  For 3 reasons:

  1. Ayushmann and Parineeti probably aren’t going to get a big career change out of this, their roles are similar to what they have played before, so no seismic shifts in the star power rankings will come from this film.
  2. Also no seismic shifts in the producer/director rankings.  Maneesh Sharma is producing, it looks very similar to his previous films as producer.  The director is new, but the vibe seems so Maneesh Sharma driven, I’m not really seeing him as the auteur, more Maneesh.
  3. And finally, nothing new from the production house.  Yash Raj has been moving in this low-budget high concept rom-com direction for a long long time.

But none of that takes away from the fact that this looks like a pretty good low-budget rom-com!  Not exciting and groundbreaking (for all the reasons listed above), but a nice little movie.  With a nice little ad campaign.

Speaking of the ad campaign in particular, it is super cute!  Giving us little glimpses of their characters and relationship over time.  I do wonder if it is one of those things where all the inventiveness went into the ads, not the film.  The ads are set up like chapters, giving is little complete vignettes of their friendship, starting when they met in childhood.  The structure is what is intriguing, having almost short films with these two characters instead of the usual “song trailer” or trailer that gives a bunch of images from the film.

But if you remove the structure, if we look at it as just the chemistry between the two leads and the story that we are being given, is it really that interesting?  If the film tells this story more or less straight-forwardly, will we still be interested?

Yash Raj (more specifically, Aditya Chopra) has a history of brilliant trailers and ad campaigns that sucker you into seeing movies that aren’t necessarily as interesting as their trailers.  Remember the teaser for Befikre?  How intriguing that was?  And then how the film itself was just a straight-forward rom-com more or less?

Remove the trailer structure bells and whistles, and we are left with a bachpan (sp?) ki dost love story, with the twist of a nostalgic setting (if they were little kids in the 1980s, then the young people romance would be in the 90s), and a slightly more aggressive heroine and passive hero.  I am getting strong vibes of Break Ke Baad, Baar Baar Dekho, and plenty of other recent films.  Especially Dum Laga Ke Haisha with the cassette tapes and old film songs and 90s setting.  Oh, and the fact that Ayushmann is telling this story looking back on the past gives a strong vibe that Parineeti is dead in the present, just like (SPOILERS SPOILERS) Katti-Batti and ADHM.

You see what I mean when I say it feels fun, but like nothing new?

 

 

Half Girlfriend, on the other hand, did surprise me!  The first looks and the title and the buzz around it made me think it would be something a little more on the Befikre side of things.  Young people being wild and carefree and avoid commitment.  But the full length trailer looks a lot deeper than that.

 

I am kind of thrilled.  2 States is the closest comparison, and in 2 States I enjoyed the light college romance part, and the winning over Alia’s family.  But what really made me it something new was the dark undercurrent in Arjun’s family.  Especially how it wasn’t a sudden shift to the dramatic, it was there all along, just slowly more and more visible.  Way at the beginning, there is a comment about how strange it is that Arjun chose to go to school far away from his home.  His focus on needing to get a good job so he could support himself, his awkwardness over only his mother coming for graduation, there was always something a little off.  And as the romantic relationship got more serious, they had to deal with his underlying issues before they could move forward.  2 States isn’t really a movie about romance, or even about regional issues (as the title implies), it’s about growing up with an alcoholic and abusive father and how that affects every part of your life, especially when you start to think about starting your own family.

And Half-Girlfriend looks like it might be kind of the same thing.  Not about “romance”, but about class issues and gender issues.  Arjun is clearly lower-class than Shraddha and she is supposed to be “out of his league”.  But then there are added complications to it, somehow I am getting kind of a tragic vibe to Shraddha’s character, like maybe she needs someone like Arjun in her life, like her high-class English speaking world is trapping her a little bit.

And Arjun’s love isn’t just “ha-ha, out of your league!” kind of thing, it’s more obsessive and passionate.  This is a Mohit Suri movie, after all.  And his character isn’t just perfect and happy, he has darker undertones.  Thank goodness, because those darker undertones are where Arjun excels.

Shraddha, I am less excited about, but I will give her a chance.  This is her reunion with the director who launched her, so that might bring out something extra in her performance.

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38 thoughts on “Upcoming Rom-Com Trailers! Half-Girlfriend and Mere Pyaari Bindu

  1. I’m so excited for both of these…I will always want more filmi romance and I like a good mix of the lighter and darker stuff, too.

    Do you really think Parineeti’s character is dead? Hmmm…I was wondering if she became a big singing star and left him behind and that’s why he is looking back…kind of a Notting Hill thing. Definitely, nothing that both actors haven’t done before but both need to recapture the magic in their careers and I’m definitely hoping that Parineeti does. Khurana I wouldn’t necessarily miss…but he does fill an interesting role in the industry, the second tier actor who directors/producers bring on board to try new things (Vicky Donor, DLKH) and I do like that he can carry a tune if necessary. I am starting to worry that playback singers jobs will be in jeopardy a couple of decades down the road…as there are less and less lip-synching songs and actors and actresses begin to sing themselves. I hope not!

    Fangirl scream for Arjun in the Half-Girlfriend trailer! Now that my first Hindi film hero has lost so much of his shine, I think Arjun Kapoor has officially replaced Hrithik as my favorite actor. Certainly not the best actor in the industry or even the handsomest but as I’ve said before here he’s just so freakin’ sexy! And in a completely different way than Hrithik. The darker tones in this romance look promising…please god that they don’t go too far into the creepy obsessive “romantic” trope. Romantic intensity and Arjun’s natural presence could be a dangerous combo unless handled well. The most I can say about Shraddha in the trailer is she has great earrings and pretty styling;)

    Chetan Bhagat’s adaptations have all been pretty great (and they seem to be better received than his actual writing which is weird to me). He’s like a Nicholas Sparks/John Grisham combo.

    After the lack of romance last year in Bollywood, I really do hope that this year stays strong. I also enjoyed the new trailer for Hindi Medium. Looks like a dramedy in the vain of English Vinglish and Piku. A slice of life with a sense of humor and heart.

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    • OK, now that I just watched the fifth chapter of Meri Pyaar Bindu I can see that she might be dead, but I am so not in the mood for another dead girl romance. I mean I know KHNH changed things up and killed off the guy, but in addition to the two you named (Katti Batti and ADHM), there’s Sanam Teri Kasaam (admittedly the most over the top version of this and my guilty pleasure). Rockstar, and several other recent films that just love to draw on the ol’ Love Story plotline. It’s not a terrible plot device when done properly (and it certainly happens in real life), but the way it’s handled in films is so cliche.

      Also love the song in the Half-Girlfriend trailer…could be another great ballad from Arijit Singh! Jealous you get to see him live.

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      • Maybe there will be a twist and she dies in Half-Girlfriend and lives in Meri Pyaari Bindu!

        On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 1:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • It would be interesting if playback singers went away, they only came about because of technical shifts, and now more technical shifts could get rid of them. In the early days, before non-synch sound was an option, all the stars had to sing their own songs. And there were a fair number of “singing stars” that lasted all the way through the 50s. But then songs and dialogue both started being dubbed later and there was no reason to have them do their own singing. But now dubbing is suddenly anathema for some reason and everyone wants to do synch sound. And digital cameras and fancy new sound equipment make that a lot easier than it used to be. So we are going back to the era of “why not have them sing their own songs and use their own voice and be all ‘natural’?” Although, so long as Shahrukh is working, we will still need playback singers because his voice is TERRIBLE.

      I would kind of be fascinated if the idea of “Half-Girlfriend” is that Arjun goes too far and eventually realizes he has to let Shraddha go. I am strongly tempted to spoil myself and read the plot description of the novel. Although the Bhagat adaptations have taken some big liberties with the novels before, so maybe it wouldn’t actually spoil me.

      I’ve noticed the same thing about Bhagat novels being less respected by films! Except for 3 Idiots, none of the films have been like super super respected, but it still seems to be slightly more than the books. Maybe because the strength of the books is in the stories and settings not the writing? But once it is translated to film with new dialogue and actors to embody the scenes instead of just reading the descriptions of them, all of that falls away a little?

      On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 12:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t know about his initial books but it seems like Chetan Bhagat is just writing books to be made into movies. Apparently he let Mohit Suri read Half Girlfriend and he sold the rights before the book was published.

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  2. I’m really excited for Half Girlfriend, although, the ‘drinking from the brown paper bag’ quick shot and the fact that the director also did Aashiqui 2 worries me a bit. That song also sounds very similar to Tum Hi Ho! I am also trying to give Shraddha the benefit of the doubt. I’ve only seen her in Aashiqui 2 and OK Jaanu (and the small role in Gori Tere Pyaar Mein) and I have been underwhelmed, to say the least. Beyond that, it seems like a really nice role for Arjun and there is a lot to like in the trailer. I loved 2 States so if that’s the ceiling for this one, I’ll be very happy!

    I sort of feel the same about Meri Pyaari Bindu. I’ve enjoyed the roll out of the trailers, with little glimpses into the characters and their lives. It seems like it could be fun. I’m cautiously optimistic. I find that Parineeti’s face has changed a lot since we’ve last seen her. So much of her performance is in her face – she has always been so expressive. She just seems a little flat in these trailers. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It could also have something to do with the character she’s playing.

    Also, filmilibrarian, thanks for the heads up about Hindi Medium. It looks wonderful!

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    • Good point about Parineeti. Both that she seems slightly less expressive, and that it might be the character. If she is going to be a full-fledged manic pixie dream girl type, it could be that there just aren’t that many notes to play. There isn’t an internal life written for her to try to express through her performance.

      On the other hand, if the same thing is true of Shraddha in Half Girlfriend, that might be fine by me. I’d rather focus on Arjun’s character working out whatever it is he is working out than on Shraddha trying to act.

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  3. Just saying but Mohit Suri didn’t launch Shraddha though Aashiqui 2 was her first successful movie 🙂

    For some reason Half-Girlfriend isn’t really exciting to me. I’m expecting something at the level of Ek Villain instead of 2 States.

    By the way did you notice that Parineeti in Meri Pyaari Bindu is Tamilian?

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    • I didn’t notice! Is that part of the tension between her and Ayushmann’s family, is he supposed to be a different ethnicity?

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      • I think Ayushmann is supposed to be Bengali but I’m not sure about that. Wait, his character’s name is Abhimanyu Roy so that would make him Bengali. Plus the movie is set in Kolkata so technically Parineeti would be an outsider. Parineeti mentions to Ayushmann’s mom that she does Tamil voiceovers for films and ads so that means she should know Tamil. Also his mom talks to Parineeti in English, not Hindi, which also makes me think she’s Tamilian. By the way, I thought it was interesting that Parineeti’s character did dubbing for ads. For some brands, the ads are done in Hindi and dubbed into different languages. For example, I remember Shahrukh’s Fair and Handsome ad used be dubbed into Telugu.

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          • It’s quite common to dub ads, especially when it’s starring a huge star. I saw a Varun ad in Telugu once last year which I took as a sign that he’s growing as a star. I couldn’t find the Fair and Handsome ad I was talking about but I found a dubbed Lux ad with Shahrukh and Katrina.

            Hindi version:

            Telugu Version:

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  4. I haven’t watched any of the trailers, but I’ve read Half Girl Friend. It is definitely about class issues, as Bhagat himself said prior to publication, or even writing the book. I found it quite interesting and compelling, except for two coincidences toward the end, especially the second one, which I felt was too “filmi.”

    I’m surprised you think 3 Idiots was the most “respectable” of the film adaptations of Bhagat’s books, as it was the one that I consider the biggest travesty. It’s like the film makers just wanted to cash in on the popularity of the book and Bhagat, while not understanding what the book was about. They took random elements from the book and their own random elements to cater to Aamir’s ego (he always has to be Mr. Know it All in his films), *without recognizing how they completely trashed the plot and characterizations* so that nothing made sense any more.

    It’s become fashionable now to look down on Bhagat’s writing, which is a fate common to all best selling authors. I’ve read all his books, and, while I don’t necessarily agree with his stories, I’ve always found them to be thoughtful and worthy of my time.

    The most faithful film adaptation of a Bhagat film is the little known film Hello, adapted from Bhagat’s One Night at the Call Centre.

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    • Glad to hear I wasn’t imagining those class issues! And now the wikipedia entry is really tempting me. So hard not to peek!

      On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 8:22 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Wait, does that mean you’ve given in and read it? That’s it! I’m not holding out any longer! I’m finding out if we get a happy ending!

          On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 8:58 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • No, don’t do it! 🙂

            Well, I read it a long time ago so I thought I might as well read it again since I remember some of the details. Back when the book first came out, Varun was supposed to do this movie but then he let it go for Shuddhi. That’s when I first read it…

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  5. I’m very disappointed with Meri Pyaari Bindu trailer. I’m not a fan of Parineeti or Ayushmann, but I was very curious about this movie. I thought it may be something new, but I was wrong. Seems that it will the same old story of a crazy girl, seasoned with some DDLJ flavour . And yes, I had the feeling that she will die.

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    • Looks like one of those movies where I will have to take the bullet for all of you, watch it opening night and tell you all if it is worth the trouble. And if it isn’t, spoil the plot so we can find out if our guesses are right.

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      • I will definitely read your spoiler review for this one to see if she dies, especially because I’ll have to wait for the DVD. I’ll see it either way. The only romance in the last few years I didn’t even try was Katti Batti, partly because of the dying chick plot, but also because the Imran Khan & Kangana jodi didn’t appeal at all, even though I’m a fan of both separately.

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        • This is one of those few movies where I wish there was another blog just like mine so I could spoil myself without having to see the film. I felt the same way about Naam Shabana, wanted to find out “what happened” without having to actually sit through the movie. Thank goodness for Dina, my oldest friend and faithful Friday night film companion, even if it is a terrible movie we still manage to have fun together.

          On Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 8:16 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Oh, Katti Batti, I wish I could forget I watched this one.
          And for Meri Byari Bindu, I will give it a chance, but only if there won’t be dying people.

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          • I will sacrifice myself for you and go see it opening night, and then report back. I’ll just make the first line of the SPOILERS section “Parineeti dies” or “Parineeti lives”.

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        • I promise, the very first line of the SPOILER section will be “Dead” or “Alive”. I am tempted to put it in the headline, but that would spoil it for the few people who might actually want to see it no matter what. Maybe just make the title “That Thing We Thought Would Happen Does/Doesn’t Happen”

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          • I thought more about it and I think she will not die. The trailer makes us think that she is no more, but I’m sure it’s only publicity stunt. If somebody dies, trailers don’t show that. Like in this terrible Katti Batti – I watched it because I saw colorful posters, and thought it will be fun. I would never watched this, if I knew somebody dies.

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          • I had that same “death!” feeling real strong about Anushka in Sultan, and then it turned out to be a trick on the audience, so we would be ready for something sad but surprised by exactly what the sad thing was. So, you are right! Good chance this is all a trick to make us think we know what will happen, and then it won’t happen.

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  6. Underwhelmed with the Meri Pyaari Bindu trailer. I’m so tired of this gamma men.But Ayushman’s teaser seemed interesting.The one where he goes on about his erotic ghost story.He could find a new career as one of the scriptwriters for the Raaz series. Who knows.Word is out that it’s a Bollywood remake of Paper Towns.And much as I love Arjun Kapoor I’m staying away from Half-girlfriend. Chetan Bhagat (in paper or film) is not my cup of tea.He’s overrated.

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    • Uch, I didn’t want to see the original of Paper Towns, let alone a remake.

      I still have hopes for Half-Girlfriend, partly because I have liked Chetan Bhagat films in the past, but mostly because I am very curious about Arjun in it. He has such an edgy energy onscreen, and it looks like he is going to be an edgy kind of romantic hero, which is something new.

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  7. Pingback: News about Upcoming Rom-Coms! Half Girlfriend, Raabta, and Untitled Shahrukh!!!! – dontcallitbollywood

  8. Pingback: Jab Harry Met Sejal Teaser: Red Chillies!!!! SUBTITLES PLEASE!!!!!! But even without them, I still like it | dontcallitbollywood

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