Cast: Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Sana Saeed, Rishi Kapoor, Ram Kapoor, Ronity Roy
Director: Karan Johar
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: October 19th, 2012
Rating: 3.5 stars
When you mix a melodramatic Indian TV soap opera with the extra flamboyance of photogenic physical sexuality, designer brands, shimmering costumes, suave personalities and scenic locations you receive a Karan Johar (K Jo) product. This is exactly along the lines of what Student of the Year (SOTY) has to offer. The film attempts to put forward a balance between emotion and style and up to a certain extent does deliver in that category.
K Jo modernizes several already mentioned and seen ideas on screen in SOTY but at the same times lets the audience connect with each character individually and allows them to portray their presence on screen. Elements of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (Imran Khan & Genelia D’Souza), Dostana (John Abraham & Abhishek Bachchan) and 3 Idiots (Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan & Sharman Joshi).
SOTY introduces three fresh faces to the industry. Sidharth Malhotra plays the character of Abhimanyu Singh, the fresh from the village new kid on campus whereas Varun Dhawan (son of director David Dhawan) portrays Rohan Nanda, the tough-attitude ultimate school star rich boy. Alia Bhatt (daughter of Mahesh Bhatt) plays Shanaya Singhania who is more of a designer label than an actual girl. The story is primarily based on the two main lead actors who as debutantes have worked extremely hard and make a memorable mark on the silver screen. Both actors still have a lot more to learn and that will only be possible with more experience and exposure in the industry. Prior to acting in SOTY, both Malhotra & Dhawan have assisted K Jo during the direction of My Name is Khan. Rohan (Dhawan) proves himself slightly more as a convincing and ‘real’ actor when compared to Abhimanyu (Malhotra), who is more of a forced and over the top taller version of Shahid Kapoor (especially with the constant pouting of lips and twitching his eyes/eyebrows).
The film is set in a very grand boarding school (St. Teresa) and is shot all over the very photogenic locations of Dehradun. SOTY is a story of relationships, friendship, love, trust, betrayal and all of that put together with a lot of masala, extra slow takes, glamour, fashion, style, deep cleavages, bare legs, squared abs and rounded biceps. There is an element of story-telling and relatable sense of emotion but at times it is overpowered by the shimmering portrayal of it all.
Varun Dhawan (Rohan) & Sidharth Malhotra (Abhimanyu) in SOTY
Undoubtedly the most flamboyant and memorable character of SOTY is the gay dean of St. Teresa’s, Yoginder Vasisht played by the one and only Rishi Kapoor. His extra colorful costumes, magical smile and delivery of dialogue are just remarkable. He brings back entertainment whenever there is a slight feeling of sigh in the script. The scenes in which he flirts with school football coach, Coach Shah (Ronit Roy) provide for great laughs. During a special appearance by Boman Irani, he teases Rishi Kapoor by singing ‘Coach Coach Hota Hai!’ Ram Kapoor plays an impressive character of an egoistic and rich Varun Dhawan’s father. Guest appearances are also made by Farida Jalal, Kajol, Farah Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant.
Rishi Kapoor in SOTY
A very beautiful surprise in SOTY is the return of the adorably and bubbly little ‘Anjali’ of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai who makes her return on the big screen after 14 years. Sana Saaed is a visual pleasure to watch on screen as she is now the very sexy, full of life with somewhat of an attitude as she plays the character of Tanya Asrani. She will break both necks and hearts this time around with her seductive dance moves and on-point facial expressions. Another debut in the film was that of Boman Irani’s son, Kayoze Irani (Pseudo/Suto) who portrays his character beautifully. Just like his father, Kayoze has a lot of talent and handles his humor flawlessly. Providing more comical justice are the characters of Jeet & Dimpy played by Sahil Anand (former MTV Roadies contestant & TV actor) & Manjot Singh (Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!) respectively.
Sana Saeed as Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Left) – Tanya in SOTY (Right)
One of the strongest points of this film which also keeps the duration of 2hours 40 minutes somewhat together is its awesome music composed by Vishal-Shekhar. From the introductory songs of all the actors to the finale with the Mashup of the Year track, the songs are all very powerful and engaging. The collaboration of old-school tracks such as Disco Deewane & Gulabi Aankhein with fresher beats and lyrics create magic. The cheesy and quirky dialogues also provide for the positive in SOTY. Laughs are guaranteed at most parts when these dialogues come up. All actors are extremely fashionably educated, especially the wedding kurtas of the two lead actors and the bikinis/swimwear of Alia and Sana. SOTY collected an above-average opening at the domestic box-office grossing INR 8.25 crores (US$ 1.56 approximately).
SOTY will definitely be attractive towards the urban youth and create various trends and fashion statements. The important elements of friendship and relationships that encompass the film will also be appreciated and taken home by the audience. Sidharth Malhotra & Varun Dhawan both have a promising career in the industry as this is just their beginning. Alia Bhatt on the other hand, for the moment provides more of an eye candy and her acting skills along with dialogue delivery does need work. Sana Saeed makes an impressive comeback and it would be lovely to see more of her in the near future. If you can take a positive break from an extensive, detailed and serious storyline whilst just focusing on the music, glamour and the visually bare photo-shoot of the young and the restless; do go and watch Student of the Year – no sarcasm intended!