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Student of the Year review: It won't insult your intelligence

Movie:
Student of the Year
Director:
Karan Johar
Cast:
Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan
Avg user rating:
This is Karan Johar's world - that impossibly glossy planet with branded clothes, romances, convertibles and sweet heartbreaks.

This is certainly not everyone's glass of champagne. Either you revel in the fantasy or you dislike it for the same. So you have the girls in heels, scarlet lips and tiny skirts and the boys in body-hugging shirts.

They romance on the campus, come zipping in convertibles, and live in a world where the boys compete over a football math and girls get catty over who is the head cheerleader.

The school is St Teressa's and the film informs us that the institution is as international as its name.

The film itself is a curious mash of a high school love triangle folded in with a flashback, recounting of tales (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na), and a bit of 3 Idiots.

The fun in the film is the ride not the destination. For how many times have you seen uber-cool kids fall in love, get confused and then fall in love again?

Here there's plenty of fun along the way, with each character getting their own track and back-story. To keep up with the evolved audience, each character is infused with enough shades of grey - so the rich guy is not just an egotistical air-head, and the ordinary guy who forms the third part of the triangle too has his own share of issues.

But the pretty girl, however, sadly remains just that.

The clichéd characters are all there - the hilarious dean, the sardar, the fat boy-who-can't-find-a-prom date. But the cast is sparkling.

It's a rare treat to watch Rishi Kapoor play the gay professor who has the hots for the football coach. Wearing pink shirts and diamond brooches, carrying an umbrella and being mean to the coach's wife (because he's jealous) are just some of the things that add to this character's adorable personality.

The others in the supporting cast also do very well.

The humour is enjoyable (the dean spills coffee on his suit on seeing the coach and exclaims 'I'm all wet'), but plunges into pedestrian variety with the sardar and fat jokes. Then there are the typical high school jokes that include buzzwords like ABC (ameer bachche + chamche).

We meet our protagonists. Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) and Rohan (Varun Dhawan) remain blissfully in love with a constant dollop of confusion. Then comes Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra), and his entry causes a commotion not just in the school but also in their lives.

It is rare for a hero to get this kind of a glowing entry, usually reserved for the new girl on the block (a song that gushes Itna sona,iItna cool, kitna wonderfool).

They hang around in a gang that has bitter-sweet equations. The film takes off when the Student of the Year award is announced and all the friends are put in different teams.

We are then taken through the entire process complete with an IQ test, a stretched sequence showing a treasure hunt, finally culminating in a dance competition. Meanwhile, we catch a glimpse into all their lives: a son rebels against the father, one person's loved one passes away and the other is confused in love.

The film is very stylish and ambitiously mounted. From the cast to the production values, the snazzily picturised songs and the styling - the film is a visual extravaganza.

What doesn't work is the hyper-sexualisation of the characters who are high school kids for chrissakes. So the top-to-toe body camera scan of Shanaya in a swimsuit looks very tacky, although the boys are treated pretty much the same way.

But the debutants do exceedingly well. Since each character has been given more layers than the average campus film, it's a tough act for these newcomers.

Apart from displaying amazing confidence, these debutants are great lookers and talented, too. Varun Dhawan displays an instant likeable charm, Alia Bhatt impresses throughout, and Siddharth Malhotra has the strong-silent appeal.

Director Karan Johar comes back to filmmaking after the sombre My Name Is Khan (2010). He makes a film much like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but with a more evolved and intelligent sensibility.

So there you have it - a fun, frothy film that won't insult your intelligence and sensibility. Worth a watch!

Rating: 3 stars

 

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