Tiger Shroff will play the lead in the romantic comedy Student Of The Year 2. Without any continuity of the events of the first part, Karan Johar simply wants to make SOTY franchise telling a new story of students in each pane. Besides, Karan will only produce this time, and not direct it.
And if Tiger already has three films under his belt, this second part marks the big screen debut of the young Tara Sutaria, identified with TV shows. The 20 year old lady has also sung on films like Taare Zameen Par, Guzaarish and David. Karan Johar has announced that the film would have two heroines.
2016 was a year of extremes for Tiger Shroff with the huge success of Baaghi and indisputable flop of A Flying Jatt. He hopes quickly to find his audience, and for this it's nothing better than to change genres finally after three action movies.
Student Of The Year had launched the careers of three beginners now well settled in Bollywood, namely Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan.
Ten years ago, the university headmaster St Theresa resigned his position following the competition Student of the Year. He is now very ill and is alone in a hospital. Former students are all there, except Abhimanyu (Sidharth Malhotra), Rohan (Varun Dhawan) and Shanaya (Alia Bhatt). The friends then recall with emotion the last year of their college and the dramatic events that led to the withdrawal of the principal.
Shanaya was a fashionista who had a relationship with Rohan, a son of a very big businessman, but he allowed himself be seduced by Tanya (Sana Saeed), who is eager for relationships for profit. Earlier, the handsome Abhimanyu from a very modest family also joins the university. The wealthy Rohan seeks to humiliate him, but Abhi does not backtrack and they inevitably end in the office of the headmaster (Rishi Kapoor).
The latter is openly gay, which does not prevent him from leading the university with energy. He is about to launch the 25th edition of the competition Student of the Year where the best students will compete for an important prize of a scholarship in an international university.
Student of the Year is the fifth film of Karan Johar as writer-director. All his previous achievements were considerable success and some like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham are essential references. He is also a major personality in Bollywood, whether at a cocktail party, a television studio or in his own shows. He did not spoil, the production company founded by his father and his direction is flourishing, linking the commercial success. This happy man, who at 40 has nothing to prove, offers late in 2012 a strange film.
At first, he presents here a traditional love triangle with two young men play for the favors of a lady. But we note in the opening minutes that something is wrong with the object of their desire student. Alia Bhatt in the role of Shanaya is not very pretty and not a classic beauty and was said which would not be prohibitive if she had the presence or a strong personality. Unfortunately, she is very expressive and the role given to her is particularly poor.
To make matters worse, she is rather short and to make her tall is decked out with all accoutrements, which are more hideous than each other with shoes with endless heels, very short dresses with belt worn high, to artificially lengthen the legs, shorten her bust etc. Finally, her character should have been a twenty year girl, but even she seems outrageously made up at most 16. Alia doesn't look the girl next door.
If the idea was to make Shanaya an object of desire, she was virtually silent, to even give credibility to the interest of the two males. But no. And it is a primary source of amazement. This surprise is accentuated by another female character, Tanya, played by Sana Saeed, who was the little Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. This little girl has touched millions of viewers in 1998 and embodies here for her first adult role, who is unbearable and talkative just like Alia.
If Shanaya is irrelevant, Tanya is a foil. When one adds the mother of Rohan loose, flabby girlfriend being pushed unceremoniously and the wife of the coach, who gets knocked suddenly, one comes to think that Student of the Year really didn't put value to women. The only positive female character is the grandmother of Abhi, played by the adorable Farida Jalal.
Yet the film is presented at first as a comedy such as might have been expected from Karan Johar with a small group of young, wealthy and idle guys, enjoying the easy life in an upscale university. There will be recognized the same starting point as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, with only St. Theresa replacing Xavier.
But even more than in its predecessor, the situations shown are excessive and clumsy and attempts to make us believe that it is a film with life, the stakes are weak and infantile, like the treasure hunt supposed to demonstrate the student's general knowledge. The effective assembly cannot compensate for the lack of interest of the ridiculous frame. It remains the whirlwind of feelings, touted as the highlight of the film.
Two youths therefore compete for the heart of a beautiful lady but what is immediately striking is the cinematic treatment of the two heroes. They are detailed from every angle and extreme masculinity is put forward very often. The viewer cannot fail to be but disturbed by such affection paid to male plastic.
This brings us to notice the countless allusions to homosexuality. It begins of course with the headmaster played by the great Rishi Kapoor. He embodies a crazy man as ever in Indian cinema. It goes very far when such he spills a cup of tea on his costume at the sight of the gym teacher and he wrote: Oh my God, I'm all wet! I'm all wet. Of course the comic spring is here, but it's ultimately more pathetic than funny, and light years away from the usual fat jokes like those in Bodyguard made us suffer for example.
Beyond the evocative slow down, exchanged glances of male couple for the dance event, or explicit expressions of Vaibhavi Merchant in the same event, the question is raised openly between the two men: Are you gay? The film takes on a different dimension, a very remote Dostana where homosexuality was only a decoy.
Student of the Year in reality offers us two overlapping stories of a naive tale, traditional and uninteresting, and evocation of male homosexuality that excludes women. It is assumed wrong, as when Abhi asked Rohan, 'You're not going to kiss me, don't you? And finally, after a final denial, it only embrace him in all honor.
The film takes a poignant twist when you realize the number of autobiographical elements that Karan Johar has disseminated in it. It is of course the flamboyant principal, but also wonderfully played by Sudo Kayoze Irani, and definitely Rohan has a very difficult relationship with his father and does not know if he really loves women.
Student of the Year became so touching and understandable approach. However, it did not dare take the plunge as Ang Lee in Brokeback Mountain was able to. Karan Johar has only scratched the surface and its subliminal message of tolerance and suffering remains obscure. But perhaps he could not go beyond today in Bollywood.
To evoke its own history, it was the newcomers for this film to be entirely his, and he thereby assumes full responsibility. They fared moderately indeed, if perhaps not Sidharth Malhotra on which rumors of relationship with Karan Johar circulated there for 2 years. The roles are second best even if they sometimes have almost no text like Rohit Roy.
The music of Vishal-Shekhar leaves no more of memory with the choreography by actors is poorly done. It would perhaps save Disco Deewane, which is a rearranged huge disco hit from 1981 by Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan. The little inventive staging allows viewing pleasure and song tends to stay in the ear.
Student of the Year leaves a mixed impression. This love triangle has Alia Bhatt, who is neither credible nor moving. The reason why this film was promoted as around the very name of his writer-director the film was co-produced by Red Chillies, the production house of Gauri Khan and her husband Shah Rukh lies in the many autobiographical aspects it contains and the emphasis on male homosexuality. The fantasy love story described in the lines in the film is actually between the two men.
This is clearly so taboo in India it has been largely erased by the film press. Conversely, it was able to shock in the West by its hidden sides and rather shameful finale. It might also be embarrassed by his misogyny displayed but it remains a testimony of the difficulties of the representation of homosexuality in the highly commercial Bollywood.