Director Karen Johar brings us a high-school drama filled with sparks of romance and youth culture. With high expectations before-hand, I was slightly disappointed with the overall film.
The film begins with a conventional structure of the present day, where a group of friends reunite at the hospital to see their former principle ‘Dean Yoginder Vassisht (Rishi Kapoor). With the audience wondering how these people met and what their stories are, Sudo (Kayoze Irani) begins the story, by revisiting the past. This which fades into the initial beginning of the film, where we are introduced to St Terea’s High School, the main location.
We are slowly introduced to each character, all portraying the stereotypical ‘high school kids’. There’s the popular girl, the popular
guy, the geek, the tomboy, the funny one and of course the sweet guy. Though the character development is informative, allowing us to fully know each person. The film is based around the core idea of “who gets the girl” and “who’ll win the trophy”. New actress Alia Bhatt plays the typical girly, girl of ‘Shaynaya Singhania’. The girl that everyone strives to go prom with. She is introduced with a Bollywood track, in which perfectly captures her bratty attitude, hence the lyrics listing famous, fashion brands. Likewise, Varun Dhawan as Rohan Nanda is stereotypically portrayed as the “hot” guy who has everything. Shoved in our faces is his red Lamborghini, in which we do nothing but despise his stuck-up persona. During this scene, we are introduced to yet another character ‘Abinmanyu’ short for ‘Abhi’ (Sidharth Malhortra) whom plays the hero and teaches Rohan a lesson. Relating to all our past school experiences, we begin to like Abi’s character, thus hating the bully.
Heat between Rohan and Abhi begins here. Their hate for each other is as equal to their love for each other. With fighting several times and trying to get each other back, we also see them be the best of friends. However, betrayal continues to do its job. The build up of the final test for who is fit to be the ‘Student of the Year’ gets to the worst of them. Vengeful, selfish minds and payback invades their focus, where this isn’t a competition anymore, but a true test of survival of the fittest.
Karan Johar does a pretty good job in fitting in all the high-school elements. We are shown the true stake of loyal friendship to heart breaking struggles. Of how a single trophy can ruin all things perfect and create monsters instead of humans. Credit here
definitely goes to ‘Sudo’ for powerfully stating such a memorable dialogue to the Dean. We praise his courage, but also sympathise for people like him out there. Choosing one person from thousands of students and labeling them “the best” is ridiculously pathetic. It’s a powerful message, in which they show both the effects of competition can do to you. These unnecessary rules and competitions are scattered around the world, in which we are brain washed through disseminating ideologies. Student of the Year questions these rules; how is a winning piece of gold metal better than friendship? A placard saying “I’m the best” is what everyone strives for. Is this really why we should go to school? So people higher than us can simply stand up and tell us who’s the best and not?
As well as school morals and cold facts of the education system, we are shown how support is valuable. Rohan’s father cold-heartedly, bullies his son. Mocking his talent stating, “how are you going to go far with a guitar”? These scenes undeniably represent traditional values from parents in India and are well acted out. The cold tension between the father and son is tempered, whilst the poor mother passively by stands. You’d think a rich family would be happy. Think again.
Overall, Student of the year shows a true take on school life today. The unconditional friendship and battles of victory truly testifies the meaning of love. Though, I have to admit that I was disappointed due to lack of originality and intake of stereotypical characters, making it cliché. There were unnecessary scenes, delaying the pace. Though the moralistic values encountered were considerable.
You’ll just have to watch the film to find out who wins the race? But is it worth it?
My Rating: 6.5/10
Written by: Meera Darji