In conversation with Cinespeaks, Chetan Bhagat talks about Half Girlfriend which is all set to release on May 19. It’s interesting to know that he is also one of the co producers of the film.
What was your reaction when you heard your book, Half Girlfriend is getting adapted into film?
I already had met Mohit much before my book was published. He had read my book before its release. He fell in love with the story and he decided to make the film based on the story. So, basically the film was announced and then the book got published around the same time.
What is the story of your book (Half Girlfriend)basically?
This is my 5th adaptation and it’s a love story. It’s about a rural boy who falls in love with a girl who comes from a well off family in Delhi. So, Mohit is best at making those kind of stories. For any love story films, song needs to in sync with the story of the film and Mohit’s movies are known for the amazing songs. I am really excited as I’m also co-producing the movie.
Directors take liberty of your novel. What you have to say?
I suggest the Liberties Now. See, that’s how one mature like a writer. I’m now mature enough that people who want to see exactly what I had to written they can read the book but if a director comes in, I tell the director that I don’t want you to just give Chetan Bhagat’s vision, Director’s vision is equally required. In this film audience will see Chetan plus Mohit Suri’s vision because then people will get to seen something different with unexpected twists which will keep the boredom at bay. Newness is needed because people have already read the book.
As a produce how involved are you in the film making process?
I did what Mohit had asked me to do. I was there on the set everyday throughout the movie. I was taking care of the costs and ensuring whatever Mohit needed, creatively understood with the team. I was the bridge between creativity and the costs as I was taking care of both.
Are you planning to try your hands in direction?
Well, it’s early for me to comment anything on this. I have just started as a producer. I’ll be taking baby steps. Also, I have worked in a bank so, I know the technicalities director come across with respect to budgeting, costs and numbers. Direction requires time and it’s very absorbing. Right now, I have not really given a thought to this but in the long run if I come across some good stories, I might give direction a go but again, it’s not certain.
How did you like the costumes of both actors in the movie? Are you liking it ?
I’m loving it! Costumes are complimenting their characters quite well. We needed a very rustic looking boy. In the movie the story of a boy is someone who hails from a village in Bihar and then move to Delhi to pursue further studies then again he goes to US, by and large we needed an actor who can show that range and Arjun completely justified his character. On the other hand Riya Somani, Shraddha’ character is very desirable, so we wanted someone who youth could relate to especially girls, she is very classy who seeks attention in the college. Shraddha has played her role interestingly well.
How does it feel when you see movies which are adaptation of your book?
It feels surreal! Every time I have started off to write a book, it was always a blank paper where I had filled in my thoughts and my ideas. So when I see the film, It makes me feel as if it’s not real. This film (Half Girlfriend)looks dazzling! I have seen this movie being shot closely being the co-producer.
What made you write Half Girlfriend?
The title is very fascinating I’m sure half of the people will be curiously going to the theatre to understand the concept of Half Girlfriend. I have not invented the concept rather it is was already there in the society, particularly in the metropolitan cities. In India where dating is still a taboo, there are certain section of people who are involved with someone emotionally and feel so connected with each other without having to commit to each other. So, this phenomenon exists in the society and is persistent. In the younger generation the concept of half girlfriends and half boyfriends are in vogue.
Every time your book publishes, we expect a movie. You have that quirk in your books. What do you have to say?
I think the stories that I write connects with largely with average Indians. They are mainstream stories kind of a book. One is important, the book has to be interestingly exciting on its own then only the book can find its space in the bestsellers category. Movie is releasing now but book was published 3 years back. It’s but obvious that if the movie is being made on a book, then the book must have been excellent.
Do you believe in Nepotism?
I definitely don’t believe in Nepotism and I’m not the product of Nepotism either. In my view, somewhere down the line Indians like Nepotism. Let me support my statement with one solid example, if I tell you, there is a picture which is releasing this Friday in which a boy from Small town is the protagonist on the other hand, if I say here’s a picture of a superstar’s son who is grown up now, who’s picture would you want to watch? Obviously the later one. So, we can’t say that Nepotism isn’t supported by the Indians along with the Bollywood industry. What we are demanding is, you can benefit from Nepotism but at least you should be a performer. In the industry, it’s all about viable business at the end.
What’s next for you?
I’ll probably write a new book. I don’t know about the movie If I would direct or produce. currently it’s all about Half Girlfriend is what we are focusing on.
Written By: Nandini Roy