Student of the Year 2
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday, Tara Sutaria
Director: Punit Malhotra
When Karan Johar decided to direct Student of the Year, it was because after complicated love stories and a very ambitious My Name is Khan he wanted to direct a simple, youthful love story. Reprising the successful Kuch Kuch Hota Hai format (about young love) which catapulted him into the top league of Bollywood’s directors was a gamble that paid off well – Johar, playing to his strengths, landed a hit film once again besides flagging off the launch of a series of acting talent under Dharma banner.
Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan have since gone on to become significant success stories in the movies and the rest is history. And history, as is famously quoted, often repeats itself. SOTY 2 directed by Punit Malhotra starring Tiger Shroff plus newbies Ananya Panday (Shreya) and Tara Sutaria (Mridula) follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, except that its story is more Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, only glossier and lighter with a few alterations.
Rohan (Tiger Shroff), boy from the infra dig Pishorilal Chamandas College aspires to be in the elitist St Theresa College because his childhood sweetheart Mridula (Tara Sutaria) has moved on to a more posh school. As things turn out, he does manage to set foot in the elite campus, only to realise that he doesn’t belong in the rarefied world of the snooty Richie Richs. During this brief interlude, he meets Manav (Aditya Seal), the official Theresa star and his spoilt sister Shreya (Ananya Panday) and quickly enough the battlelines are clearly drawn.
What follows thereafter is predictable stuff about poor kids versus rich kids and so on, minus the sparkling humour and cinematic genius that marked Mansoor Khan’s film of 1992, one of the rare youth films that had sports--a cycling race--at the heart of it all. SOTY 2, meanwhile has a bunch of sports activities with a kabaddi match as the ultimate deciding factor for the candidate who finally clinches the title of Student of the Year and takes home the trophy!
For most part the story covers the major preoccupations of the young and the restless—romance, rivalry and then some more. Except that unlike the new-age slice-of-life delights like Pyaar Ka Punchnama that we have witnessed in recent times, SOTY settles for broad strokes rather than filling in defining details that could have taken the series a notch higher.
Music in SOTY 2, unlike its predecessor that boasted of Disco deewane, Radha and Ishq wala Love, is surprisingly tepid. Except for the Yeh Jawani (the Vishal-Shekhar version) which instantly sets the screen afire, no other song displays major recall value. As for Will Smith’s appearance in a song as the ultimate casting coup, it would have worked better if he was around for a while longer.
On the upside, the new kids on the block—Aditya Seal, Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria who team up with Tiger Shroff work heavily in favour of the film. While Shroff brings in his trademark action and dancing skills, Seal matches up as a worthy opponent and Sutaria as charming eye-candy. Sutaria who has been a child actor on several Disney shows can certainly expect to be signed up for a bunch of glamorous parts, what with a severe dearth of fresh and promising leading ladies in the younger slot.
But the one who eventually steals the thunder is actor Chunky Panday’s daughter Ananya as the bratty Shreya with a winning side to her. As Shreya, Panday displays a certain spark and quite like Alia Bhatt, could well be the young talent to watch out for in days to come.
About the report card on the film, the SOTY second edition, although it does not pass with flying colours, does make the grade.
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