Kudos to Punit Malhotra for creating a slightly better version of the earlier 2012 outing
First things first. Yes, you probably won’t find such a school anywhere in the globe. But then if you would find already, what’s the point of a Dharma Productions’ film? Being exactly the same what the trailers promised- nothing more, nothing less- Student Of The Year 2 delivers on masala entertainment, glamorous sets and costumes, and dialogues laced with over amplified attitude along with some humbug situations. While the Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra starrer in 2012 is already in your mind and comparisons are bound to happen, this one still scores a little better than the first one.
Rohan Sachdev (Tiger Shroff) is a student in a small school in Mussoorie but aspires to take admission in one of the high standard schools in Dehradun St. Teresa only because his childhood sweetheart Mridula (Tara Sutaria) has gone there. Since he’s not affluent, he seeks admission through a sports scholarship. In a school that’s majorly about proving your mettle in the Student Of The Year competition, its a battle between the hero and others who aspire to be called one.
Arshad Sayed’s story here is not very different from the first venture directed by Karan Johar. The elements are more or less the same, the main theme is similar, characters are identical. SOTY2 in fact is only a revisit to SOTY with some more pomp, display of enthusiasm, and vibrant outlook.
While the elements are nearly photocopied, what makes this film interesting and a better viewing experience is how they have been played on screen. Yes, you know who’s going to win, but still an effort is made to create a palpable tension, which grows on the audience. The breathers are well timed, songs are placed correctly, friendship and love take their time to develop, and the competition is on at the back. The makers here have given adequate spacing to all such attributes- things that bind the film together.
The makers also have utilized Tiger Shroff’s body, agility, and skills to their full advantage, so much so that you see a major chunk of the film relying on his physical ability rather than writing. In fact, he’s been made to suit the role so much that he becomes synonymous with the premise and how drama unfolds.
Having said everything, you also are disappointed in the writing. Of course there are layers but some situations are crass and irritate you. Couldn’t the makers think of a novel story line in the similar backdrop? Its sad and unfortunate. What is also disgusting is the fact how Bollywood wasted Will Smith. Utterly poor on Johar and Malhotra’s parts.
Tiger Shroff is brilliant. He suits the role, lives the part and plays it with honesty. He brings in a sense of connect in the overall play of superfluous narrative.
Debutantes Tara Sutaria and Ananya Pandey are very confident here. Their roles are well etched and they contribute well in the drama, with both scoring an upper edge over each other. Of course, they have been made to look out of the world, and portions of the film also rely on that.
Aditya Seal is good too, bringing in the right amount of anti-heroism into the plot. Manoj Pahwa and Ayesha Raza are fine; wasted actually. Sameer Soni is below average, slapstick to say the least.
The film does grow on you a lot because of its music. While the numbers are already hit, while in the film, they also make you smile and entertain you. Decent job by Vishal Shekhar. Background score by Salim Sulaiman too grips you well evoking the right sense at right places. Though it could be better.
Ravi K Chandran’s camera creates a world that’s too visually appealing. It’s a colorful world. You name a shade and it’s there on screen. With incredible aerial and drone, trolly and crane shots, you also get to see the location in a fantastic manner. The shots actually make you want to go to such a place leaving everything aside. And that’s a job incredibly done. Production design by Sumayya Shaikh is marvellous. It aids the camera in the best way it can and pleases your eyes to the core.
Editing by Ritesh Soni is also very good. While the plot doesn’t offer substance, editing still has made sure you are invested.
It’s a film that lives up to its own reputation. It doesn’t claim to be something that it isn’t or can’t be. SOTY franchise has inherent problems. It’s not a great piece of art. This one here scores on the merits and chooses to ignores the problems. Taking complete advantage of the limited resources, it does give you a satisfactory time in theatres. If you are having a long day at work and want to have a good time relaxing, watch this one. If you have to still abuse Johar for investing in such films irrespective of knowing what the film is capable of already, go get a life.