Almost four decades ago, Raj Kapoor, one of the finest film-makers India has produced, took a rather brave decision of casting two newcomers in his ambitious project Bobby. Almost everyone in the film industry was caught by surprise.
A similar situation arose when Karan Johar, one of the most successful stories of our times, decided to cast three rank newcomers in his ambitious outing Student of the Year. Like Raj Kapoor, after having worked with the biggest of names in the business, Karan could've easily signed any top league star for his new film, but he didn't.
At a time when the industry bigwigs often complain that there's a genuine dearth of newcomers, not many film-makers have the courage to stick their neck out by launching films with new faces. However, despite starring fresh faces, Karan has ensured that the look and feel of Student of the Year is at par with any biggie he has attempted in the past. One realizes this while watching the six songs and two music pieces from this ambitious project. They tracks are lilting, seeped in melody, while the visual appeal is awe-inspiring.
The three newcomers, Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, appear poised and extremely confident in their debut film. Did Karan put the trio under rigorous training, before he commenced filming? "Yes, we did conduct workshops, but we were clear, we didn't want to go overboard. I didn't want their act to look rehearsed or mechanical. It has to look natural on screen," Karan says. What's interesting is that Karan has shot each of those songs with a different choreographer and the results are mesmeric. As a matter of fact, each song looks so different from the other. Besides, unlike some film-makers who insert songs as mere props, you can sense the story moving frontward in each of those tracks.
There's talk that Student of the Year is a present-day take on Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. "Just because you see the boys riding bikes [smiles]... In the past too, while I was making K3G, it was alleged I was rehashing Kabhie Kabhie. KHNH was supposedly Anand. Now Student of the Year is Mohabbatein and JJWS. It's amusing. Is there a dearth of stories? Why should every film be a clone of a tried and tested film?" Karan sounds unflustered by the allegations that the rumor mills keep churning out.
Are the three newcomers bound by a contract with Dharma? "Yes, they are, but I would like to see them work in qualitative films in the future. We would ensure that they work in the right projects," Karan says. Though it's a dream start and every aspirant would be envying Siddharth, Varun and Alia, the question is, where does the trio go from here? When you start off with Karan Johar, every film that follows would only seem a shade less than their debut vehicle. After all, no one presents you as glamorously as Karan Johar in show business, right?