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STUDENT OF THE YEAR - The debutants are fine but the film isn't. (Review By Bobby Sing)

19 Oct, 2012 | Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

The brand ‘Karan Johar’ has always been associated with Big Films supported by the Big Stars right from “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (1998) to the recent “Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu” (2012 - as producer). If truth be told then it’s a universal fact that majority of his movies have tasted phenomenal success at the box office, more due to the ‘Rare Star Ensemble’ featuring in them, rather than having any fresh story content in their scripts or an exceptional execution on the screen (except his first KKHH). Moreover, Karan’s films have always targeted the upper section of the society, showcasing everything rich, glossy and elegant in their each and every frame from start to finish, which with the changing times had also gone into the mode of being called monotonous and predictable.

So with STUDENT OF THE YEAR, Karan himself breaks this fixed pattern of film-making at the right time and comes up with an all fresh star-cast with no help taken from any Big Icons of the industry like never before. Though his other favourite norm of college life, romance, song, dance and drama is still there in SOTY in its full form, yet its indeed an appreciable move from the veteran director to challenge himself, directing 3 newcomers together in this young film.
But sadly the merits of his latest flick start with the name of its 3 debutants and end right there too since it doesn’t offer anything novel in its content department at all. It’s the same two boys and one girl love story accompanied by the ages old riff between the upper & middle class. The film starts with the typical KJO kind of opening scenes with the big gates, aerial shots of the school building, the dashing boy entering the campus as if the entire school was waiting for him, girls moving in groups wearing revealing outfits and then the boys having a fight over the parking spot as usual. The initial hour of SOTY repeatedly reminds you of Karan’s Kareena & Rani from his previous films and then you fondly cherish the memories of Mansoor Khan’s JO JEETA WOHI SIKANDER (1992) towards its uninteresting climax which can be easily guessed by anyone.
To be fair, SOTY has got a much better first half which keeps you entertained mainly through its witty dialogues and impressive performances. But what you see as a school here is purely an imaginary one with only a few hundred students in its assembly, no variety of teachers in sight (other than the sports coach or the Dean himself) and nothing important happening in that school apart from the “Student of the Year” contest. Moreover, it has got everything you always find in a Karan Johar movie indisputably. The film has songs thrown in one after another, an annoying Gay-ism coming in at regular intervals and the same good old plot of a love triangle presented once again with a fresh star-cast.
However this time, KJO goes a step further by insulting the educational institutes too wherein he presents a Gay Dean, wooing his school’s Sports Coach in the campus itself in a highly disrespecting & silly manner. May be we should give a million thanks to KJO that he didn’t make the funny Dean tease his own students in the same questionable way crossing all the limits of decency. Another objectionable insertion in the film is using the Sikh Characters on the screen like Clowns to raise some laughter, which KJO has been doing since his “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” days. This time he uses Manjot Singh and Boman Irani for this particular purpose in the script as the two comedians.
In the music department SOTY simply takes some “Golden Hits of the Past” for a ride, changing all their original notes quite awfully. It also brutally murders the Cult song of Late NAZIA HASSAN in a cruel style and the pain felt here can only be understood by the friends who immensely enjoyed that melodious album of Nazia & Zoheb Hassan called “Disco Deewane” in the 80s. Yet, among all these displeasing songs there is also a well composed track in its soundtrack with some questionable lyrics saying “Ishq Wala Love” (as if these are two different emotions felt by a person). Apart from this one delightful song, there is a fine silent sequence too in the film which gives you something to enjoy with those talented newcomers. But once it gets over, the narration again goes back to all routine stuff with an easily predictable climax and a weird kind of competition where the participants (boys and girls together) are made to do Swimming, Cycling and Running all in one go in a continuous mode.
All together, SOTY is a pretty weak film which still works marginally due to its 3 talented and good looking debutants who will easily make their way in the hearts of all youngsters as desired. Out of the three, Sidharth scores a little more than Varun due to his author backed role, but they both make their presence felt strongly. Aalia looks stunning as well as confident but her onscreen presence actually depends a lot on her outfits. So, if the trio wished to prove their talent with SOTY then they have done it quite impressively. However, talking about the project as a ‘Cinematic Venture’, let me explain the smart trick played by Karan Johar in his film both as a director and a producer.
The sole motive of SOTY actually seems to be only launching these three kids which is successfully achieved in the film without any doubt. But in order to give them a decent launching vehicle, KJO has played it real safe without trying anything unconventional, novel or out of the routine in his SOTY. As a veteran he very smartly gives the 3 debutants, a film which can neither become a Flop nor a very Big Hit, with the minimum risk at the Box Office, beneficial for their near future. So following that intelligent strategy, he puts the same old ‘Tried & Tested’ formulas in the script with a new catchy & colourful coating which can easily make the youngsters feel at home in those 2 hours and that’s all………Job Done!
As a result, when the end credits starts rolling, you feel like having watched some fine performances from the trio Sidharth, Varun & Aalia in a film which actually had the same old content served in a fresh plate. And that was exactly the purpose behind the making of this project in reality.
But along with my best wishes for the 3 talented kids in SOTY, I wish to ask a honest question to Karan Johar that,
Enjoying the powerful position he is today in the entire Hindi film industry, if he will not give us new films with some fresh, novel concept taking our own Hindi Cinema a few steps further.....….then WHO WILL?

If a person like Karan, will keep churning out versions of the same old content again and again fooling the innocent audience repeatedly then, WHO will find the courage to give us something path-breaking and WHEN?

And If a veteran like Karan Johar is not interested in any such vision taking the Indian Cinema a few steps ahead then these films are nothing more than just money earning business ventures which can easily be compared to the good looking, well designed packet of crispy Chips which have less chips and more air in them, making fool of the buyer openly.
So where many youngsters may like this latest “Re-Cycled” film from the house of Karan Johar, I really wish he had spared Mr. Rishi Kapoor from featuring in such a disgraceful role and had given us something novel in the name of a young film.
Rating : 2 / 5

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19 Oct 2012 / Comments ( 4 )

Dont you think this movie was made just to promote Gay-ism? He\'s following the same path that has been tried before in hollywood.

First start making fun of the issue (like he did in Kal Ho Na Ho), make it funny for people to watch and laugh at, and slowly but surely take the movement further. There\'s more to come....Just keep watching...Its a sign of times...1994, they were blasting Alisha Chinoy and Karishma Kapoor for Sexy Sexy Mujhe Log Bole song...and how far we have come since the opening up of economy, internet, call centers, and so on....There is a price to pay...it comes with breaking down of culture, morals and values.

There is a reason George W Bush specifically singled out India and China back in 2007 by saying middle class of these countries consume so much food an d hence the grain prices all over the world are so high! more gays, less marriages, reduced population, 50% divorce rate like in USA......so bollywood is just to promote agendas.....entertainment part died may be a decade ago, and its only gonna get worse...thats why its called Kalyug.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for your comment Bluefire and you do have some sharp points to make here.


I have a completely different take on Soty. I felt that this was Karan Johars most autobiographical film ever. The dean Rishi kapoor played is actually Karan johar in real life. The institution and the competition are allegories for his production house and the films churned out by it. The loneliness and desolation in his life (personal) motivates him to make a particular brand of films.The students are made to go through mediocre processes after which a champion is decided.This is very similar to the construction of his films where very little goes into building it (as in scripting etc). But the end result in both the cases is hailed as a winner.

Bobby Sing

Great Way of looking at the film Jithin......I enjoyed it really.

Keep Writin in!

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