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Movie review: Student of The Year

First of all, it’s difficult to like a film where the female lead is called ‘brainless’ not once but several times. Even less so, when the boys saying it aren’t really paragons of wisdom themselves.

Photos: Stars at 'Student of the Year' screening

Student of The Year

But why would Shanaya mind? Her only worry when she has to visit someone in a hospital is what to wear. Sometimes she worries about which man to love: the rich one who she has been with for four years but who keeps getting physical with other girls and llaughs at her insecurity or the poor one who calls her brainless but nice! Tough, huh!

The students of the prestigious St Teresa school in Dehradun all exist in some strange North Indian bubble male students show off their super-toned bodies and finely-honed muscles while swimming, running or dancing to wedding sangeet with their kurta buttons open. The heroine and her rival’s skirts are smaller than their bags and they continually hover around the said muscular heroes vying for their attention.

Their dean Yogendra Vashist (Rishi Kapoor) is a homosexual who talks to his bonsai plants and lusts after the school’s happily married coach and imagines throwing a Frisbee at his thepla-eating wife. This Dean has devised a never-heard-before contest called Student of The Year, an extremely competitive title, which awards the winner scholarship to an Ivy League college!

And it has to be earned by... hold your breath... winning an IQ test, then a treasure hunt, then a dance competition and finally a triathlon involving swimming, cycling and running. No, not one activity connected with academics! Well, there’s Rohan (Varun Dhawan) and Abhimanyu Singh (Siddharth Malhotra) in this bubble-ghum world. The former is the rich and arrogant son of an annoying industrialist, while the latter is a poor orphan boy from the pind (village) but greatly ambitious.

Rohan and Shanaya are in a relationship rut: Rohan is constantly canoodling with other classmates right in front of Shanaya. In comes Abhimanyu with long toned legs and poor-boy attitude. Both take pangas with each other till they jointly win a football match and become best friends forever.

As if all that were not juvenile enough, Shanaya flirts with Abhimanyu to make Rohan jealous. But you know how it goes; the flirting always gets serious and then really soggy. There is emotional baggage too. Varun’s father hates him for his lack of ambition while Abhimanyu feels, well, whatever people feel when both their parents die and then the sole loving grandparent dies too.

Well, the deadly SOTY competition begins and makes them part ways. Till the dean’s illness brings them back together. Will they ever forget their differences? Who’ll Shanaya choose? Who cares? The youngsters seem promising. One wonders why Aalia is in a film where she has so little to do. As for the boys, although Varun Dhawan is competent, the films clearly seems tailor-made for Siddharth. The first half drags with its silly flashback songs; the second is slightly more purposeful. As Karan Johar films go, this film entertains but only just. Period. 

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