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STUDENT OF THE YEAR movie review: Typical Karan Johar

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October 30, 2012


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Karan Johar gets it horribly wrong this time around with this high on gloss, supreme on toned bods, but low on substance romantic drama that fails to go beyond visual gratification

Karan JoharAs you enter the theatre to watch Karan Johar’s larger-than-life production Student Of The Year, starring Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, there is a set of predictable elements your filmy mind automatically takes for granted. It’s a given that a KJo movie has to be promisingly ostentatious, supremely surreal and unbelievably unrealistic. You know that there will be a dream world crafted to perfection, there will be snow-clad mountains, pretty actors serenading in the best designer outfits, extravagant weddings and over-the-top emotional hoo-ha. But then you still anticipate a generous dose of drama and oodles of entertainment from the stylish director’s glossy creations.

You can’t deny the fact that Karan’s big on production value flicks hold the capacity to transport you into the world we all would like to be a part of. KJo surely knows how to sell frivolous fluff and fantasies. Sadly, the same can’t be said about his latest release Student Of The Year – starring Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt. The film has oodles of fluff but hardly any substance to hold your attention.

SOTY revolves around three youngsters: Rohan (Varun Dhawan), Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra) and Shanaya (Alia Bhatt). Rohan is the son of India’s leading business tycoon (Ram Kapoor) who is confused about his on-and-off relationship with his girlfriend Shanaya. Abhimanyu comes from a middle class family and wants to win the world with his fierce competitiveness. The trio studies at St Teresa, one of India’s premier academic institutions (that clearly emphasises more on the physical development of its students and doesn’t care much about their IQ levels). So you see boys flexing their muscles and showcasing their washboard abs in almost every frame while girls pay more attention on their designer clothes and discuss the wonders of push-up bra!) It’s the place where the rich brats come to study in their Ferraris and Lamborghinis, and even the poorest of the poor ride swanky sports bike. Almost every student of St Teresa nurtures one dream, and that is to win the prestigious ‘Student of the year’ trophy that will bring fame and fortune along with it.

Interestingly, and quite typically, the film’s trio is amongst the biggest competitors in the race to bag the most coveted title. But as the competition heats up Abhimanyu realises that his friend Rohan is taking his long-time girlfriend Shanaya (the modern day Pooh, played irritatingly by Kareena Kapoor in Kjo’s 2001 directorial venture Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) for granted. Abhimanyu decides to help Shanaya to get Rohan’s bachpan ka pyar, but in the process he slowly develops a crush on her. Friends quickly turn formidable foes and now there are two things at the stake – the student of the year trophy and Shanaya’s love. Who will win the trophy and who will walk away with the girl? Or can one of the two deserving hunks win both? To get the answer to that one, you have to watch the film.

It’s a predictable plot that hardly offers anything out of the box and director Karan Johar, in his attempt to spice up the tale, adds too many frills and goes all out to glamorise the movie. So you have private jets all set to take you on a trip to Thailand at the drop of a hat. You have a lavish wedding in the exotic locale and an American school that boasts of amenities that can easily put our Olympic Villas to shame. Then there’s the prom, pompousness and irksome pretentions.

Johar’s leading men and the leading lady have been employed for enough of unnecessary, so-called aesthetically well put up, skin show, and the director hesitates in showing some restrain. You can’t help giggle when you see the boys emerging out of the sea in their teeny-weeny boxers with camera hovering over their torso – almost greedily – capturing every detail of their bod. It’s one thing to see John Abraham pulling his trunks beyond permissible limit to create a frenzy, but quite another to see Varun Dhawan flashing his butt crack as he comes out of the pool after a refreshing swimming section. Karan has definitely failed to ask the most critical question here – why?

As for the cast of the film, both Siddharth and Varun have done a good job. While Siddharth has a definite camera presence and exudes confidence, Varun and Alia have played their part decently. Rishi Kapoor’s gay character is intermittently funny. Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roy are completely wasted. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is hummable, refreshing and foot tapping. Writer Rensil Dsilva’s script is muddled and the screenplay is predictable. We wish director KJo had managed to infuse some novelty into his story and gone beyond Louis Vuitton, Ferraris, I-pads and his usual Dostana connotations.

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