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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Critics verdict: KJo's Student Of The Year predictable, but entertaining

Hindustantimes.com  New Delhi, October 19, 2012
First Published: 14:00 IST(19/10/2012) | Last Updated: 15:49 IST(19/10/2012)

Karan Johar’s direction is very good but flounders with the script. Alia is effortless and a natural in her performance. Both Sidharth and Varun are talented, confident and hardly look like first-time actors, say critics.

"Set in the picturesque locales of Dehradun, more precisely, in the Forest Research Institute and Kasiga School, ‘Student Of The Year’ has every element of a Karan Johar school/college film. Beautiful surroundings; the fluff of snobbish, brand-obsessed people; few nerds – one of them bespectacled, inevitably; a Dean who just doesn’t understand the values of friendship and camaraderie and so on. You ask for it, and you get it. No stone is left unturned in leaving a large, bold Karan Johar signature on the film," writes Ananya Bhattacharya, ZeeNews.

"The story for the movie is very rudimentary: two guys in love with the same girl and the same trophy (note: aforementioned girl and trophy aren’t the same.) Even if you make many exceptions for the story – with all the repeated stereotypes – nothing disappoints you like the pathetic explanations in the end. The outburst at the climax deserved to be much stronger. Maybe St T’s (as we’re supposed to call this institution) is based in some wonderland where everyone comes to school in designer clothes (including Abhimanyu, whom we are led to believe belongs to the lower economic ‘Bata’ club) and Mercedes Benzs to school, but this la-la-land also doesn’t require a minimum age for a driving license or for drinking alcohol in clubs/discos. Then there are the parts which are just for the sake of making you go “Aww…” like Abhimanyu’s grandmother’s illness. But the humour quotient is bang on," writes Roshni Devi, Koimoi.com.

A still from the film Student of the Year


"Student Of The Year is a love story that traverses the trodden path [a high school romance]. But KJo is an artisan with intellect and taste and he ensures that the script is spruced up and modernized with such elan that it doesn't offend the spectator's wisdom or intelligence. The accomplished director takes on familiar material and gives it an entirely new twirl. This is escapist cinema at its best!" writes Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama.

"It's KJo-Wala Love! Served fresh and piping hot from the Dharma college canteen of romance. And it's a high (class) school that you'd never want to miss a lecture of, ever. Except that it has its own set of Karan rules. Read the prospectus: 1. Leave your text-books at home but ensure you're carrying your designer bags and heels. 2. Drive a Ferrari to school, or if you're poorer, take a bike. 3. Dating, mating, separating and love lessons shall be part of the syllabus. 4. Girls, don your shortest minis, and guys, rip off the shirts. Welcome to St. Teresa's. Rest assured, it'll be a well-rounded entertainment experience," writes Madhureeta Mukherjee, TOI.

"Think of a quintessential Karan Johar film and opulence, grandeur, style and candy floss emotions come to mind. Not to forget, the song-and-dance extravaganzas with a lavish sprinkling of stars. And Student Of The Year is just that albeit the stars. But that doesn’t seem to affect the film because Karan manages to engage you from the word go with the right dose of humour, emotions and drama," writes Raedita Tandan, Filmfare.

SOTY"As you enter the theatre to watch Karan Johar’s larger-than-life production Student Of The Year, starring Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, there is a set of predictable elements your filmy mind automatically takes for granted. It’s a given that a KJo movie has to be promisingly ostentatious, supremely surreal and unbelievably unrealistic. You know that there will be a dream world crafted to perfection, there will be snow-clad mountains, pretty actors serenading in the best designer outfits, extravagant weddings and over-the-top emotional hoo-ha. But then you still anticipate a generous dose of drama and oodles of entertainment from the stylish director’s glossy creations," writes Prathamesh Jadhav, Bollywood Life.

"The high school musical has all ingredients of a blockbuster - super performances of the young stars, rocking music, great screenplay and direction of Karan Johar. All the three debutants look like seasoned actors in each and every frame," reports Samaylive.

"The film looks good but even though you aren’t entirely bored, you tend to drift away. It’s a light and breezy film, but the progression of the plot is rather arduous and stretched into a Triathlon and love triangles and what not, when it could have come to a conclusion earlier. And it does not have a very original plot line either, give or take a few elements," writes Rubina A Khan, First Post.

Performances
"Alia Bhatt, as the girl whose each hour of the day is dominated by thoughts of whether to carry a Louis Vuitton bag or to strut around in Jimmy Choos, does a remarkable job of playing Shanaya Singhania," feels Bhattacharya.

"Alia Bhatt has that 'X' factor which will take her places. There's not much of a scope performance wise, but given the scenes, she looks glamorous when she has too and also emotes reasonably well," says Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.

"Siddharth Malhotra as the underdog, the new lad who joins school, too pitches in with a decent performance. Varun Dhawan's performance improves with every scene and by the end, he stands out. All these three grow on you as the film progresses and by the time the film ends, you cannot but fall in love with them," adds D'Souza.

"With three big debutantes in the movie, it is a bit difficult to pick and choose, but my vote goes for Sidharth Malhotra as Abhimanyu. He’s the sweet charming boy who steals your heart with his sighs. Varun Dhawan does very well as the spoilt brat but there are a few places where he needs to buck up. Alia Bhatt ends up with a very dumb-blonde role who has to do standard ramp poses for the camera but she performs ably. Undoubtedly, Varun is the best dancer among all three," says Devi.



"This is what we call grandiose debut(s)!!! Karan's definitely swooshed his cane for this one. The trio has done him proud and has set a high 'bench-mark'. Varun expresses and emotes with superb confidence and storms the dance floor with swag. Sidharth stands equally tall, has amazing screen presence and is man of few words and many smouldering emotions. Alia wins your heart with her cuteness, effervescence and naivete. Yes, she reminds you of Kareena's Poo days (with all that oomph), but she comes into her own. The chemistry between the three (even outside the lab) grows on you," says Mukherjee.

"Among the performances, Sidharth, Varun and Alia do their best not to seem like newcomers and they emerge triumphant. Sidharth’s restraint is impressive. Varun is charming; his brilliant dancing skills deserve a special mention. And Alia definitely has what it takes to be a star. The three make confident debuts," feels Tandan.

"As for the cast of the film, both Siddharth and Varun have done a good job. While Siddharth has a definite camera presence and exudes confidence, Varun and Alia have played their part decently. Rishi Kapoor’s gay character is intermittently funny. Ram Kapoor and Ronit Roy are completely wasted. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is hummable, refreshing and foot tapping. Writer Rensil Dsilva’s script is muddled and the screenplay is predictable. We wish director KJo had managed to infuse some novelty into his story and gone beyond Louis Vuitton, Ferraris, I-pads and his usual Dostana connotations," says Jadhav.

"Both Sidharth and Varun are excessively talented, supremely confident and hardly look like first-time actors. Photogenic, charming and self-assured, it's tough to say who's better, Sidharth or Varun? Both shine in their respective roles, both enact their parts with gusto. Sidharth gets some terrific moments, while Varun is a talent one can't help but marvel at. Alia's role is reminiscent of Kareena In Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham [remember Poo?]. Stylish, classy, born with a silver spoon, she's someone who loves to flaunt not just her clothes and bags, but also her riches. Extremely photogenic [she looks like a doll, frankly], Alia makes a super-confident debut. In fact, all three, Siddharth, Varun and Alia, are here to stay!" says Adarsh.


"Alia is effortless and a natural in her performance – bouncy and effervescent and quite adorable as the ditzy Shanaya. The camera loves her gamine face and inherent charm. Being veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter, she sure knows where she’s headed from here," says Khan.

"Varun walks and talks the part of Richie Rich Rohan – he’s got the act down pat and does a super job essaying it. Varun is the younger son of filmmaker David Dhawan and he too, has a film legacy to live up to. So far, so good," adds Khan.

Direction
"I don't know why, but I get this strange feeling that the director was not fully involved or attached to SOTY. The mark of intensity that one has seen in his past films is missing. It's like a grand wedding reception with a poor food spread," says D'Souza.

"Karan Johar’s direction is very good but flounders with the script. Cinematography by Ayananka Bose is sleek. Deepa Bhatia’s editing is very good. The lyrics are pretty lazy; Ishq Wala Love  gives you an idea that there’s not much effort into it. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is very youthful, and sometimes nuanced," says Devi.

"Even though SOTY is a high-school drama, at no point in the film does Karan offend the audiences intelligence. Every scene in the film engrosses you. Though he takes familiar material, it’s his modern take that makes SOTY a special film," says Tandan.

"In his by-now-famous style, Karan grabs your attention from the very commencement of the movie. What follows thereafter -- every sequence, actually -- is relevant to the film and the objective is to remain faithful to the essence of the story. Whether it's the amusing moments or the ones that depict the camaraderie of the three protagonists, also the ones when the two guys lock horns and get into the competitive spirit, Karan ensures that he packs in the optimum. There's no room for boredom or monotony in this high-on-energy movie. I'd like to make a special mention of one sequence, which reverberates in your memory and continues to haunt you after the show has concluded: A silent sequence with just music playing in the background. What a sequence! Besides, a number of emotional moments make you moist-eyed," says Adarah.


Conclusion

"To sum it up, watch ‘Student Of The Year’ for the debutantes. They have really pulled off a tough task of playing praiseworthy roles in a film which suffers from the lack-of-a-story syndrome," says Bhattacharya.

"You may not like this movie if bubble-gum romances, picture-perfect worlds and candy-floss clouds are not your idea of a movie-going experience," feels Mukherjee.

"On the whole, Student Of The Year is amongst Karan Johar's most accomplished works. The youth brigade would love it and those who have already past that age would want to revisit those days. This one's entertainment, entertainment and entertainment at its best. Clearly, KJo has a winner on hands, yet again!" concludes Adarsh.

Tweet Review
IBNLiveMovies: As director this is not Karan Johar's best but #SOTY will be remembered for its grandeur.

IBNLiveMovies: Music and cinematography are the highlights of #SOTY.

IBNLiveMovies: Acting wise Varun Dhawan is the pick of actors. Sidharth and Alia are satisfactory.

IBNLiveMovies: The story appears to be dragged a bit. Is the final punch still left?

IBNLiveMovies: The story appears to be dragged a bit. Is the final punch still left?


@SrBachchan: T 902 - A lazy day, a joyous night !! 'Student of the Year' .. Glorious ! Karan, a directorial accomplishment .. students, mature, lovable

@Kritika_Kamra: Can't wait to watch Student of the year!! Hope I pack up on time today.. #SOTY

@Riteishd: Just saw Student of the Year- ingredients of a blockbuster-its has it all- great writing-witty lines- rocking music- super performances.

@AliaBhatt: the 1st trial of 'Student of the year' is over and the reports r AMAZING! they say @kjohar25 has repeated the magic of 'Kuch kuch hota...

@taran_adarsh: #SOTY morning shows are terrific... Great start.

@iamsrk: My love and wishes for SOTY.Insha Allah it will make everyone very happy.Best of luck to Karan & his wonderful newcomers...Varun,Sid &Aaliya

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