Cameos: check. Elaborate wedding: check. Masala: check. Disco song: check. Unreasonably attractive, rich, well-dressed (if at all) actors: check. Actors too old to be playing high school students (read: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai): check.
Student of the Year is everything you’d expect from a Karan Johar film. It’s cheesy, it’s over-the-top, it’s unrealistic and makes you question why you even bother watching something you know you’d never believe could happen. Hot, shirtless guys with Ferraris just do not drive into campus every day and students actually have classes at school instead of fighting over girls whose intellects don’t exceed those of a spoon…well, mostly.
Narrated by friends of the three protagonists ten years later in a hospital while waiting to meet their dying Dean, SOTY tells the story of a bunch of students from St. Teresa’s High School, a posh and prestigious institution attended by the children of the rich and famous. It mainly revolves around the rivalry between two young boys: Rohan (Varun Dhawan), the flirtatious son of an affluent businessman (Ram Kapoor), who despises his father for his disapproval to become a musician, and Abhimanyu (Sidharth Malhotra), an orphan who lives with his uncle and aunt and gained admission on a sports scholarship. It’s implied he’s not exactly rich, but he somehow possesses the ability to ride into school on a snazzy motorbike. The two become best friends in two days, magically eliminating any sense of competitiveness there was previously. Enter Shanaya, the rich, beautiful, neglected-by-her-parents girl who dates the school hottie, Rohan. Irritated by his promiscuous ways, Shanaya cries on Abhi’s shoulder, who, being the nice guy that he is, makes Rohan realise her worth, while simultaneously falling in love with her (surprise surprise). He gets distracted when Dean Yoginder Vashisht (Rishi Kapoor) announces the commencement of the Student of the Year competition, which all the main leads manage to get shortlisted for, despite never being seen in a classroom or behind a book until said competition is announced. With having ambitions to win the coveted trophy, friendships broken and relationships destroyed, the students are forced to redefine and ponder over their choices. Who will be the Student of the Year?
- Kayoze Irani. Boman Irani’s son makes his acting debut in a role outshining everyone else’s. He doesn’t have a six-pack, he doesn’t own a flashy car, he doesn’t get the girls, but he’s got acting abilities that could go a long way. I wonder where he gets those from!
- Varun Dhawan. By far, the best acting amongst the three leads. Being his first film, expectations were kept low, but were exceeded nonetheless. His entry in the film however, presents him as a fusion of Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Aamir Khan, but that’s more KJo’s fault than anyone else’s.
- The music. I have to admit, I hated the soundtrack when it first released, but it grows on you when it incessantly plays on every channel you switch to. Not Vishal-Shekhar’s best, but bearable.
- The dialogues. A lot of witty lines and references to other films and TV shows, which keeps the audience entertained when there are no shirtless boys and bikini-clad babes to look at.
- Sana Saeed. For those of you that don’t know, she was the 8-year old girl in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. She pretty much plays a walking, talking (unfortunately) Barbie doll. What’s worse is that she isn’t even remotely attractive. 14 years later, she’s still annoying.
- Alia Bhatt. Let’s just say that if Katrina Kaif is too busy being an accessory in other peoples’ films, directors now have the next best thing, only a few inches shorter. But hey, there’s nothing a pair of 5-inch heels can’t do.
- Sidharth Malhotra. KJo’s old assistant director has everything it takes to be a successful supermodel: the body, the face and the lack of facial expressions. He also makes John Abraham look like an amazing dancer.
- The tributes. The old Bollywood numbers incorporated into the film were not only unnecessary, but also ruined. Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra in particular, will make your ears bleed.
- Rishi Kapoor. The pink shirts, the flirting, the giggling and the magazine of John Abraham in his desk drawer; there’s nothing about his character that doesn’t make you uncomfortable. 2012 presented the best and worst performances of his career, of which Dean Vashisht belonged to the latter. WatchAgneepath and tell me I’m wrong.
- Ishq Wala Love. This has to be in a category of its own. Since its release, all I’ve wondered is what the hell it even means. The video doesn’t make it any better; they’re in a snowy jungle in the middle of nowhere where the guys are wearing scarves very awkwardly wrapped around their necks and Alia wears dresses three sizes too small for her.
- The story. Seriously, what the *insert expletive*?
If there are more flaws than strengths in this excuse for a film, I find it difficult to give SOTY anything more than a 3.5 out of 10, a point each for Kayoze Irani, the music and the dialogues. Varun Dhawan gets half a point for being a tad better than everybody else. A must-watch for a bunch of friends wanting to laugh at a film. Face it, Vivah’s gotten old.
No, Shah Rukh Khan isn’t in the film. Shocker, I know. Had he been, the film would’ve been just that much more predictable. As if Kajol wasn’t enough. Oh…did I spoil it for you?