Student of the Year picks of several themes of love, friendship, parenting, unhealthy competition in society. But it does no justice to even one of them. It turned out to be pretty bad eventually but yet not as awful as I thought it'd be.
Karan Johar tries to take a peek into the minds of the youth of today. While he does try to balance their dark and human sides, I'd still like to think there is more to our youth than the shollowness that goes with jealousy and excessive competitiveness. Even if there is an attempt to counter it with some large-heartedness and semblance of maturity every once in a while. Ultimately, the situations created are too fake to be credited with a connect to any generation's thought process.
The uneven narrative makes it even more difficult to digest as a story. It's neither a fairy tale nor stems from reality for us to take it seriously. The build-up in the first 20 minutes towards an ominous event that occurred 10 years ago is trying to hard to get you interested. But various characters breaking the fourth wall and talking to you as an audience directly is disconcerting and doesn't let you absorb the story. Between cinematic techniques, I wonder what is worse a voiceover or people talking to you through the screen, especially when it gets more than a couple of sentences.
Anyway, through this medium you are introduced to Rohan (Varun Dhawan), Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) and Abhimanyu (Siddharth Malhotra)- supposedly 'stars' of the next generation. While their characters are a nice mix of black and white and raise a hope that if not profound or insightful, something mildly heart-warming and at least surprising might spring our way, A lot of credit for this hope goes to the actors. Not only do they look good, but they show glimpses of talent though it might yet to be fully exploited. It could also have to do with the fact that I thought all three of them would be mere show pieces.
Student of the Year also tries to touch upon various themes. The impropriety of the stress laid on competitiveness and absolutely unacceptable parenting style being two of them. Another one that comes up is the status of people who are not-so-good-looking and not-so-rich. But these come in so abruptly and unexpectedly that they take you away from the basic love triangle brewing between the three main leads. The resolution of this love conflict itself is hardly explored, it is just stated as a fact. Ultimately, you can't help but feel that the story tries to take in a lot more than it can chew.
In addition, of course you have Karan Johar's standard take on homosexuality. While Rishi Kapoor does grant it as much authenticity as he possibly can, I have always found Karan Johar's depiction more mocking than accepting.
The songs do nothing but add to the length of the film. The choreography is lackluster, the tribute to songs and films from yesteryears via remixes don't make them any more watchable or bearable. And by the last song you just want it to be done with sooner rather than later.
While I must admit that Student of the Year wasn't as bad as I expected, it still doesn't engage or have anything magnificently different to offer. The comments on the education or parenting system are to superficial to make any impact.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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