Karan Johar returns as director and producer with Student Of The Year. As an ardent KJo fan, I was extremely disappointed with the first poster, theatrical trailers, and video songs. However as a die hard KJo and Dharma Productions fan I watched SOTY out of curiosity because it just didn’t have the magical KJo touch. I wanted to know if he would be able to deliver with new faces and a novel story. One needs to be realistic about KJo films in that they are excessive in dramatics, glamour, and beauty. I love the candy floss movies that KJo produces, writes, and directs because somewhere underneath all of it he has a great love story or a gripping storyline. Sadly, this is not the case with SOTY because the story is a mish mash of many of his earlier works such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and K3G with a touch of Mansoor Khan’s Joh Jeeta Wohi Sikander. This mish mash is extremely disappointing starting with the casting down to the storyline. Sorry KJO your glamorous sets, make believe schools, and designer duds don’t make up for a dud of a movie.
Abhimanyu Singh, played by Sidharth Malhotra, is a middle class student whose made it to St. Teresa’s on scholarship. Rohan Nanda, played by Varun Dhawan is the son of a rich tycoon and is a typical rich spoiled brat. Shanaya, played by Alia Bhatt plays the part of Poo from K3G except she’s not as charming but just as annoying as K3G’s Poo. The story is about two guys and their friendship and the fallout and a stupid school competition that changes all the equations amongst the characters. The story isn’t novel, someone loses and someone wins…and well eventually everybody makes up and it’s a happily ever after (as expected).
A character I was extremely disappointed by was the role that KJo chose for the veteran actor Rishi Kapoor. Rishi Kapoor plays the role of Yoginder Vishist the “gay” (literally) dean of St. Teresa’s. It was so embarrassing and disgusting to see Rishi Kapoor drool all over the coach and John Abraham magazines. I’m just not sure why Rishi Kapoor would stoop to such a level. I get why KJo wrote this role and why he had so many references (KJo we know…you might as well come out and stop projecting your desires into movies… I mean enough of the boys in speedos and over the top characters…it has been obvious from the start…please don’t make it hard for family audiences that like to take their kids to the movies and have to be subjected to such vulgarity).
I’m not quite sure what was going on in KJo’s mind when he decided to direct such a been there done that type of movie. Forget about the stupid storyline, the casting is so disappointing apart from Varun Dhawan. KJo launches Siddharth Malhotra (former model), Alia Bhatt (youngest daughter of Mahesh Bhatt), and Varun Dhawan (youngest son of David Dhawan). Siddharth Malhotra as Abhimanyu is very good looking but is extremely stiff when it comes to emotions and acting. I’m sure he will get some movies based just on his looks but looks alone don’t satisfy viewers. Alia Bhatt was such a miscast for this movie. Alia Bhatt is Shanaiya and is basically Poo from K3G except a very ugly, out of shape version of Poo. They introduce Alia Bhatt as the most beautiful girl at St.Teresa’s but honestly she doesn’t have the screen presence because she cannot act, cannot emote (even in a song she can’t emote), and she’s not pretty. Let’s face it in Bollywood you need to be pretty, gorgeous, or have some highlight (like a smile or gorgeous eyes) that become your trademark…after all it’s a business based on superficiality. And since she chose a superficial candy floss launch she should have dropped a considerable amount of weight, toned up, and maybe get a complete face transplant. It’s one thing to not look the part but its another when you can’t even act the part. I might come across as harsh but I just don’t see what KJo might have seen in Alia. Let’s be real Kajol isn’t gorgeous but she’s an amazing actress and has that “it” factor so it makes up for the “superficial” aspects she might lack as a Bollywood actress. As a Bollywood actress, you have to either be an amazing actress or be incredibly gorgeous to hold the audience’s attention and Alia does not have either of those things. Moving onto Varun Dhawan, Varun doesn’t have a typical “hero” face but he is definitely the better actor of the three newcomers in this movie. Varun has worked hard on his physique and as a debut he’s done a great job acting, dancing, and emoting.
One of the most disappointing movies of this year! It’s extremely, painfully long at 2 hours and 45 minutes. I seriously wanted to walk out half way through the movie….I wouldn’t even recommend this movie for time pass. Honestly, some of the songs are good…so wait for the dvd – hit play on the songs and skip the movie in the theater and on dvds. Save yourself precious time and money. KJo you must be having a mid life crisis. I’ve seen many of your recent interviews where you’re extremely sad about being alone and being 40….but please don’t project your weirdo fantasies and crappy storylines into your movies. If you can’t direct anymore then quit and just produce good movies…that you is something you’re good at…so please just stick to that or wait until you have a sensible story and a great cast. Sadly, even KJo’s lucky mascot Kajol couldn’t help this movie with her 30 second appearance.
Z4B Take: 1 out of 5 stars.