With a fun outing like 'Student of the Year', Karan Johar has proved once again that he can fluctuate between making a relatively serious film like 'My Name Is Khan' and come back to candy floss youth entertainer in the mode of 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'. Okay, so the high drama of many a Shahrukh Khan-Kajol films is indeed missing here as the film never gets into an overtly serious 'a family that weeps together stays together' zone.
However it is clear that it is more intentional than a miss. With an eye on some lavish entertainment translating on screen and bringing new talent to the industry, 'Student of the Year' is a winner.
The film begins in almost the same manner as '3 Idiots' where a young man gets a mystery call and assembles batch-mates from the school that was left behind 10 years back. Later there is a 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa' narrative adopted for a good 30 odd minutes as a bunch of friends recollect events as they had taken place. Some closets are indeed opened but since this is a Karan Johar film, no skeletons come out of them thankfully. However designer outfits do come out even as ultra 'ameer' Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt get some stiff competition from 'pind ka hero' Sidharth Malhotra.
So it is time for Sidharth and Varun to slug it out in the football field, play some pranks, eventually shake hands, get into some 'vella giri', realise that they are confused about their love for Alia, share relationship issues with family members, gain new friends, get betrayed by the ones they trusted and eventually indulge into a battle of sorts when the Dean announces the award for 'Student of the Year' in school's 25th year.
While this is pretty much the basic template of many a campus films that have seen before, credit it to Karan and his team of writers who fill in ample funny moments as well as some superb one liners that seldom fail to invoke smiles and at many instance, some very good laughter. While the camaraderie between Sidharth and Varun is there to be seen, one can't ignore each of their four friends who are very relevant to the plot. The film also deserves special mention for its art direction and cinematography, more so since Vishal-Shekhar's music further accentuates proceedings in the film due to an all around peppy treatment.
However what stays on is the tuning one sees between Sidharth and Varun. So Sidharth being all hunky and handsome isn't really projected as one of those 'Yo dude' characters and instead plays someone far more subtle and quiet. On the other hand Varun, who had in it to play someone real simple, breaks the stereotype by striking a balance between being an 'ameer baap ki aulaad' and slightly 'bigda hua'. .
What isn't really as convincing though is the pre-climax sequence set in the auditorium where an award is given to the student of the year. Really, the outburst here comes out of nowhere and doesn't even carry much weight. However that is more than made up by the finale when all friends are together again and the sequence that follows. It is heart-warming all over again and so is the portion that just before the interval point where all cards are laid down without a single dialogue being mouthed.
Amongst the boys, there is no point choosing between either Sidharth or Varun. Both do really well in the space provided to them and have an equal screen time. Same holds good for Alia whose facial expressions are never out of place.
She looks extremely pretty, is as cute as a girl of her age can be, (thankfully) doesn't quite get into an arrogant zone (which would have been very easy actually, given her characterisation) and registers a strong presence. Hats off to Karan Johar for actually working hard on their performances, look and overall understanding of the cinematic medium. On the other hand veteran Rishi Kapoor shows his class all over again and demonstrates how he can really change colours between 'Agneepath', 'Housefull 2' and now 'Student of the Year'!
Entertainment served, Karan Johar style. You pretty much know the kind of treatment this film would follow within first 20 minutes of the narrative itself. Swanky cars, colleges that could give complex to mansions, designer outfits, each frame filled with classy props, good looking people dominating the proceedings and in the middle of it all, kaafi masti waala entertainment.