Karan Johar�۪s films have always been eagerly awaited within the film community and with hits like ��Kal Ho Naa Ho�۪ (2003) and ��Wake Up Sid�۪ (2009) under his producer hat, he has the talent to take on stories with a difference and turn them into epic fairy tales. The trailers for��’Student of the Year’��were under the same banner, being sold with the glamour and finesse that Johar�۪s films have always had. The fact that the producer had picked complete newcomers Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan as the stars of this alleged Bollywood industry game-changer, made this film one of his riskiest films yet. What with Bhatt being the daughter of director and producer Mahesh Bhatt and also Dhawan being the son of the great David Dhawan, the actors were still new enough to be a challenging choice to be used by Johar. The soundtrack for the film had also helped create anticipation with the fresh take on Disco Deewane, as well as Ishq Wala Love and Radha becoming fast favourites on the radio waves.
��Student of the Year�۪ is set against the backdrop of picturesque Dehradun in a school called St Teresa�۪s High School where students either come from rich families or have earned their way into the school using scholarships. Students at the school are either there to flash their parents’ cash in designer clothes and fast cars or to work hard to make a name for themselves in the world. Boyfriends, girlfriends, make-ups and break-ups are all part of life at the school and every year students compete to be called the student of the year. The title earns them funding to attend an international Ivy League school and��stands as��proof that they are both, athletic and academic.
Rohan Nanda (Dhawan) is your typical spoilt rich kid who only takes interest in splashing his tycoon father�۪s cash and flirting with girls. This is all much to the shame of his long standing girlfriend Shanaya Singhania (Bhatt) a glamorous but na�ve girl who comes from a broken home and is obsessed with fashion designers. Shanaya loves the attention from Rohan and enjoys the mini dramas that come along with the relationship. ��However, along comes Abhimanyu Singh, known as Abhi (Malhotra) who changes it all around. He is an orphan who has earned his place at the school with a sports scholarship and desperate to compete at the same level of these rich kids. At first Rohan and Abhi hate each other but then find common ground and become best friends. Abhi starts to grow closer to Shanaya and falls for her, much to the shock of his best friend and Shanaya�۪s boyfriend Rohan. In the meantime, the student of the year competition begins and all friendships at the school are put to the real test.
Johar said that directing this film was a challenge and it clear to see that he has done his best to groom these newcomers. Bhatt does her best in the little role that she is given in the film and acts as a��show piece throughout the film. It would have been nice to see her develop and take a bigger role in the film. Dhawan shows off some remarkable dancing skills but does need to know how to take a scene and make it his own. The real star of this film has got to be Malhotra who has screen presence in the film and fulfils his role well��with some great pieces of dialogue throughout. ��A real surprise is Sana Saeed as Tanya in the film who has all grown up since ��Kuch Kuch Hota Hai�۪ in which she played the 8-year-old Anjali.
This film does have the typical boy meets girl formula but there seems to be some passion missing in every scene. The characters do not seem well developed at all with a lot of the storyline not making sense at all. There is so much made of this poor and rich divide verbally but it is hard to see when all the characters are still shown to be reasonably well off. Rishi Kapoor as the Dean is great and shows off his versatility as an actor once again but his role is never well explained either. He is shown as being overtly gay but��it isn’t shown��why he ends up being the way he does by the end of the film. The competition and the love story run side by side as storylines but you can�۪t see why either of them mean so much to the characters. ��The film focused so much on being different that it forgets the storyline and the passion it needs to drive it till the very end.
The songs are the true stars of the film. From Bhatt�۪s introduction with Gulabi Aankhein to the big dance numbers with Radha and Disco Deewane, they keep the audience awake till the end. The choreography��of both the tracks is simply brilliantly and will be a hit on the dance floors at future weddings and parties. The costumes in the film are great and are as contemporary as the actors themselves.
��Student of the Year�۪ is��a film to watch if you are looking for a Bollywood romance with a lot of topless men thrown in for the ladies. All the actors are simply too fresh to carry this weak script off and even the bigger stars would have struggled. Watch out for Kajol grooving to the Disco Deewane track in a sexy black number, it always great to see her on screen.
BizAsia Showbiz Star Rating: 2/5