I am no Karan Johar fan. I haven’t seen KKHH beyond few songs and scenes. KKKG was too sweet for my comfort. KANK was maddening to say the least. I didn’t want to see MNIK. With SOTY, I bought my ticket in advance for the Dussehra morning show (the tickets are priced at the lowest in the morning shows).
According to Oxford English Dictionary
Definition of student
a person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education
But then that was the pre-SOTY era.
I am sure post SOTY, Oxford English Dictionary will redefine student as a person who is doing everything but studying at a university or other place of higher education.
K Jo’s SOTY is a fairy-tale… where in there is a megalomaniac king, the crown prince (Rohan representing the class) who doesn’t like living in the palace, the outsider (Abhimanyu representing the masses) who wants to rule and a princess (Shanaya), the object of affection and contention between the prince and the outsider. Throw in a jester (who happens to be the Dean of the school / college) for the laughs and the usual coterie of chamchas to keep the action going.
SOTY is as far from reality as are fairy-tales. To decide the Student of the Year, Dean Yogendra Vashishth has got a winning formula of Academics (it’s about testing IQs and a Treasure Hunt), Dancing (wow!!!) and Sports (Triathlon comprising of Swimming, Cycling and Running) for the past 24 years. “Studying” is never on the agenda (in fact you seem to be looked down upon if you are studying) and the Students do not have a uniform (wearing the jacket above anything is good enough) barring the climax… so much so for discipline, I presume.
SOTY has good things to its credit. Music by Vishal Shekhar is brilliant. The locales and the cinematography are perfect as a fairy-tale kingdom can be. The football match and the dances are well choreographed.
The supporting cast is simply super. Manjot Singh (seen in Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye), Sana Saeed (the li’l gal of KKHH is back as a seductress and WOW), Mansi Rachh (as the best friend of Shanaya), Kayoze Irani (son of Boman Irani) and Sahil Anand (as the sycophant turned rebel in Rohan’s life) are good to brilliant. Rishi Kapoor as the male gazing Yogendra Vashishth cuts loose and is simply superb. Ram Kapoor is super as the megalomaniac father and you can’t help but tell yourself “Bade Kharab Lagte Ho”. That’s his success.
The 3 newcomers are eye-candy. Varun Dhawan (son of David Dhawan as Rohan) is the pick of the lot. Siddharth Malhotra (as Abhimanyu), though stiff, has screen presence and an endearing brooding charm. Alia Bhatt (daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan as Shanaya) is as expressive and emotive as a pretty picture postcard.
But then good looks, visual gloss, good performances and good music don’t make great cinematic experience… the script is hollow, you do not for once feel and connect with the protagonists, the emotions and the drama don’t make your heart root for either Rohan or Abhimanyu. The climax is the biggest disappointment… you can’t help but feel “what was all the brouhaha about!”
For the Crores that SOTY will make Dharma Productions richer by, it is not great cinema and it doesn’t even make a right statement. For someone who is glorified as one of India’s best directors, the expectations are higher than 2 and half hours of gloss, gloss and only gloss.
Sorry, KJo… you lost another chance of converting me. SOTY is not even a patch on JJWS… Yeah, I feel like going back and watching Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander once more… as they say “Old is Gold” but then “All that glitters is not Gold”.