Movie Moment: Student of the Year

Light, youthful films are usually slated for the summer sun but somehow, Karan Johar’s newest directorial venture premiering in the Fall, works the best with it’s sports themed premise. Can’t say I’ve been looking forward to this film but my genuine appreciation of Johar as person, makes me curious enough to give it a chance.

Student of the Year is Karan Johar’s attempt to launch three fresh faced actors into the industry. The film is reminiscent of his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, in its locale of a college campus and it’s depiction of best friends falling in and out of love. The stark difference would be the basic conflict seems to surround athletic competition that then bleeds into interpersonal relationships.

The production is a joint venture with Dharma Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment, joining the ranks with Kaal (2005) and My Name is Khan (2010). This also marks Johar’s first film in the director’s chair without Shah Rukh Khan or Kajol as the star, though the latter makes her ubiquitous cameo.

Official Synopsis: The road from youth to adulthood is paved with myriad emotions and Student Of The Year celebrates this colorful coming of age. It is the story of two rivals, Abhimanyu Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) and Rohan Nanda (Varun Dhawan) who traverse the path of competition, envy, triumph, failure, manipulation and heartbreak in their mini-universe of St. Teresa’s High School, Dehradun.

When Abhi and Rohan’s rivalry takes an unexpected turn to friendship, neither pre-empts the complications that would brew. Things are further knotted up when Shanaya Singhania (Alia Bhatt), the most popular girl on the campus enters the equation. While Shanaya and Rohan are childhood sweethearts, Abhi’s attraction for his best friend’s girlfriend and Shanaya’s quiet reciprocation causes a rift in their friendship that would have a long lasting impact. Looming large over the various friendships in the campus is the Student Of The year trophy and Dean Yogendra Vasisht’s (Rishi Kapoor) emphasis on success and victory. Towards the end of the term, the foes-turned-friends-turned foes, Abhi and Rohan, are ready for a face-off and battle lines are drawn through the length and breadth of the campus, with only one goal in everyone’s eyes – Student Of The Year Trophy. As new ambitions are born and old loyalties fall by the wayside, each segment of the Student Of The Year competition manages to tear apart both, the participants and the spectators, to redefine the choices of the three protagonists.

Cast: Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Rishi Kapoor
Cast Comments: For the main cast, this stands as their debut role in front of the camera. However, all three have industry backgrounds. Dhawan and Bhatt boast film director/producer fathers, while Malhotra began his career as an assistant director in Johar’s My Name is Khan. This trio is relatively young, Bhatt being barely legal, therefore, with a film like this one under their belts, good or bad, their futures are definitely brighter. Only time will tell, but getting a start like this makes a huge difference, that I hope continues to work in their favor.
Veteran Rishi Kapoor rounds out the cast, which adds a little substance to this light weight group. I personally, love this man for his presence always brings a burgeon of color into each role he steps into.
Premiere: Oct 17, 2012
Thoughts: There has been tons of talk and backlash with the idea of giving industry kids a boost into the Indian Film Fraternity and rightfully so. Industry kids already have an upper hand that other budding talented actors don’t, and the idea that under qualified individuals get high grossing opportunities is rather sickening. However, on the flip side, it’s also industry kids that make it possible for those unknown actors to get jobs, as they continue to make films and have exposure. Nepotism seems rampant in the Indian film world but unfortunately, it’s no different anywhere else in the world. Success is consistently predicated on who you know, not what you know or how good you are.
You may have the random breakout star, ala Shah Rukh Khan, but it is decidedly rare.

The film itself is no different from the films that have made Johar famous, a story about wealthy people, living opulent lives, on lavish sets. Can’t say this is always a bad thing, for each of his films have reigned successful, regardless of their fantasy settings and surroundings and perhaps are better off for them. SOTYsounds like a trendy, pop film that will hit that youthful rom-com itch we all get– chock full of sweaty, glistening, muscles, hip swaying beats, a little healthy competition and young love.

Unni and the Box: Student of the Year

[stills courtesy of labeled sites]


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