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More Teen Pangs

Friday, May 10, 2019
By Deepa Gahlot

The second The Student Of The Year film releases this week; it doesn’t seem like the first SOTY came out back in 2012, since the actors introduced in it—Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra—are now coming into their own in a big way. But why not flashback to the students of that year...

The review had stated, “The thing about Karan Johar's films is that you want to get what you expect; so the gauge is not great cinema, but whether it delivers the Bollywood fairy tale...yes it does.

Johar's films are expensive, glossy and aspirational. In real life, students kids are burdened by books, exams, career prospects, hormones and zits. In Joharland, the leads are all perfect looking with beach ready bodies. They wear expensive designer tags, live in swank homes and cottages and go to a school that can only exist in fantasy. And they are worried about things like prom night. (How long before mainstream cinema celebrates July 4 as Independence Day?)

Student of the Year is enjoyable because it is familiar-- friendship, love, loyalty, rivalry, ambition all blended with energy and fizz. Another definite plus are the fresh faces; it's about time new, young stars were introduced, never mind the fact that two of the trio are industry kids. They are all talented and good looking, with Varun Dhawan as the best of the lot. As their support systems there is Sana grown up from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Kayoze Irani who goes over-the-top at times but still leaves a lasting impression.

For conflict, there's rich Rohan (Varun Dhawan) and middle class Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra) vying for the Student of the Year title, for their own reasons. And then, there's the other prize, pretty Shanaya (Alia Bhatt).

Mostly, it's fun, football, disco, peppy songs (Vishal-Shekhar) with emotions rearing up once in a while. In the midst of such youthful dazzle, only Rishi Kapoor stands out as the gay dean of the school. The other adults, like Rohan's father (Ram Kapoor) and Ronit Roy, as the sports coach look a bit jaded.

Don't go looking for realism or the meaning of life and SOTY is a satisfying watch, with Karan's expert blend of distilled Bollywood, offering a youthful high.”

The new film, directed by Punit Malhotra, returns to the fictional St. Teresa’s High School in Dehradun, introduces Aanya Pandey and Tara Sutaria opposite Tiger Shroff, and bungs in some kabaddi. But, of course, its target group of teens will scrutnise the outfits first, and it looks like skirts are set to go even shorter this summer.

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