Produced by : Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Fox Star Studios
Directed by : Punit Malhotra
Written by: Arshad Sayed
Cinematography: Ravi K. Chandran
Star cast : Tiger Shroff, Ananya Panday, Tara Sutaria
FILMFARE ME STARS: (3/5)
The triangle returns to the Bollywood square yet again with SOTY 2 reminiscent of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (replete with the deep maroon school sweaters). The classic clash between the two worlds – the rich and the poor, the proverbial ‘crude’ and prude, the mass and the class – each lacking in either emotion or wealth, each yearning for the other, but stuck in a warp of its own. Between these worlds, a love story ensues and brings the worlds together.
Tiger Shroff plays the quintessential hero – who can dance, fight, romance and still retain a softness of being vulnerable. He plays the assured, matured boyfriend who oscillates from supporting his girlfriend’s dreams to then realizing that he has dreams of his own too. We know that, as is Hindi cinema norm, he will eventually be the Student of the Year. But Tiger makes it believable and the hard work he has put in to embellish his character is heartening.
Ananya Pandey shines in this film with great screen presence, playing an angsty teenager and shares fabulous chemistry with Tiger Shroff. Pandey has a variation to her role and has justified each emotion handed out to her with finesse.
Tara Sutaria looks stunning and is confident as a debutante. Aditya Seal as Manav is gorgeous and impressive. Sameer Soni and Gul Panag in supportive roles are cast well and add to the landscape of the film.
Karan Johar, has in the past been successful with the love triangle formula – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Student of the Year which were love triangles. While the love story of one man and two women in KKHH and K3G spoke of sacrifice in love, SOTY is the millennial moving on scenario. Love, power, wealth and betrayal dot this Punit Malhotra directorial. The song and dance sequences that are already popular will be the next best choices in reality shows, social media and the like. Alia Bhatt (ex-student) creates magic in the song with Tiger Shroff.
Some of the expected KJO demons trickle into SOTY 2 – elaborate KJoesque colleges sets where people like the proverbial ‘Poo’ study, drop-dead gorgeous students dressed to kill and an aspirational almost chimeral space where students sing, dance, play sports and studies are by the way. The Archie’s comic character hangover that Karan is accused of, make a come- back in this film. So is the long dining table (it was certainly shorter than the one in Kalank) to depict the distance between family members. What was lovely to see was SOTY2 based itself on slick kabaddi – a much-promoted sport in India today.
Wish the film also dwelled on humorous situations while creating drama. Some fight sequences towards the beginning of the film are Matrix-like and aren’t convincing, while the ones towards the end look real. The Ishq wala love recall song ‘School wala love’ could have been worded better. What I also missed in the film – Rishi Kapoor and other Karan Johar film characters – Archana Puran Singh and Farida Jalal.