Banners: Dharma Productions, Fox Star Studios
Producers: Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta
Director: Punit Malhotra
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday, Tara Sutaria, Aditya Seal, Samir Soni, Manoj Pahwa, Gul Panag, Rajesh Kumar, Abhishek Bajaj, Ayesha Raza
Writer: Arshad Syed
An uber-cool college, ultra-glam students, bade baap ke bigde bachche and a new entrant who is a game-changer in this mix. This is the storyline of Student Of The Year 2. We’ve seen it before and from the same production house, so what’s new this time around? In SOTY2, we see the rise of the underdog in a colourful setting. Punit Malhotra takes his mentor Karan Johar’s legacy forward with this second instalment but does not match up to the entertainer that the first one was.
The story begins with a middle-class Rohan, star of the downmarket Pishorilal Chamandas College, following his childhood sweetheart Mridula to the very posh St Teresa’s on a scholarship. While Rohan tries to bond with Mridula, now ‘Mia’ to fit in with the new crowd, he meets the brash and beautiful Shreya.
Rohan and Shreya start a cold war, where she tries to get him into trouble constantly. Rohan insists on staying away from any confrontation until he is thrown out of the college by his new friend-turned-latest-foe, Manav, the stud of St. Teresa’s. This follows his break-up with Mia. As Shreya grows fonder of Rohan, a new relationship starts to build there. Rohan and Manav fight to win the coveted Student Of The Year trophy, competing in kabbadi while the girls are fighting over who wins Rohan’s heart. The crux of the story forms as we get to the lengthy climax and see who wins which fight and who becomes the ultimate loser.
We all know that this film is a commercial, masala film and credit should be given to the writer Arshad Syed for inserting a strong story. Yes, the outline of the narrative is very similar to the first film but that seems to have been deliberate. They have tweaked it a little by flipping the dynamics of the love triangle, adding a little more zest to the sport factor right from the beginning, some thrilling action sequences, and adding the underdog element, which is Pishorilal Chamandas College. The dialogue of the film keeps the audience alert and extracts sporadic laughs. Certain one-liners are clichéd but forgivable. Ananya Panday’s lines are especially enjoyable as she delivers them with a heavy dose of sass.
But alas, there are many flaws in the film as well. The background and attitude of certain characters is very similar to the first film, opening it up to obvious comparisons. The change of heart that happens to the poor-little-rich-girl and the entitled bad boy swag of the antagonist conjures up a sense of déjà vu. With the simple storyline, the narrative of the film could have been interesting but the linear way in which it has been treated makes it predictable way before the movie ends.
The action and dance sequences have been shot very well but the scenes where the emotions come in lack depth. There are several scenes that call for emotion but the performances fail to tug at your heartstrings.
The film is technically decent but does not go beyond that. The scenes that stand out for the way they have been shot are the ones of Tiger Shroff’s character Rohan jumping from one rooftop to another, to reach his girlfriend’s house, and the climax kabbadi scene by cinematographer Ravi K Chandran ISC. Editing by Ritesh Soni could have been crisper, especially in the second half.
The songs are one of the highlights of the film. The jawaani song, Fakira and Jatt Ludhiyane da are ultra-glamourous as well as melodious. While not all the songs fit the bill in the narrative, it is forgivable because it warms the heart of the masala-loving audience.
Punit Malhotra has tried his best to take the Student Of The Year franchise forward with aplomb but this time, the student has not transcended the master.
Performance-wise, the film has Tiger Shroff and his abs in the centre. We all know that the actor can dance as well as fight, which he does exceedingly well, but when it comes to emoting, he has a lot to learn. Debutantes Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria also make a strong impression with their roles. Panday has shades to her character which she portrays decently and Sutaria’s good-girl attitude also comes across well. Bad boy Aditya Seal pulls off his act very well. There are a lot of supporting actors in the film, including Samir Soni, Manoj Pahwa, Gul Panag, Rajesh Kumar, Abhishek Bajaj and Ayesha Raza, among others, who put in an average performance.