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Want to watch a frothy, I-don’t-want-to-tax-my-brains-much movie? Student of the Year 2 is the perfect one to go to for your popcorn.
You know a Pizza has formulaic ingredients, no nutritional value, and yet, it offers instant gratification — an escape from the regular fare.
I haven’t watched the original, and so I cannot judge how Student of the Year 2 compares to it.
The movie reminds you of Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Main Hoon Na, The Karate Kid, Mean Girls, and endless other films in the same genre.
Really, why should you care when the makers don’t give a damn for the plot? It’s all about the money anyway.
Don’t trust me! Watch the movie, and you’ll find glaring bloopers like this –
“Talent ko Angrezi mein kya bolte hain?”, asks Manasi Joshi Roy who plays Rohan aka Tiger Shroff’s mother.
“Hunar,” replies the earnest son.
You wonder what the cast and crew of this movie were smoking that not one of them could pick up this obvious mistake.
So, let’s skip the sketchy plot and move on to the next.
SOTY 2 is a no-brainer which treats its audience as juveniles. The narrative is more telling than showing. Everything is laid out on the table for you so that you don’t need to apply your brains to think and waste your time on any cerebral activity whatsoever.
After all, you have more important things to focus on like Tiger Shroff’s rippling abs, and the never-ending legs of Tara Sutaria and Ananya Pandey.
The movie relies solely on pumping up the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone hormones of its target audience. Because hey, sex sells! Why bother about padhai, likhai and all those mundane academic activities?
The biggest problem of the movie is not the outlandish fantasy but the outdated sexism. Escapist cinema is understandable and in some way, even justified.
There is no excuse however for blatantly ignoring 50% of the student population.
As a country, when we are at a stage where we are working hard on extending the brilliant performances of the female student population to the workplace and creating an equitable environment to break the glass ceiling, we have Student of the Year 2 which goes back into the dark ages.
My daughter asked me in the middle of the movie,
“So, the Student of the Year Award is for athletics only?”
As mentioned earlier in the article, there is no mention of academics in the world of Student of the Year 2. In the name of escapist cinema, let’s give a pass to the makers here.
But, try stomaching this –
The Student of the Year award is given only to male students who excel at sports. Female students are just there as eye-candy and for exploring a bright future in dance.
The makers’ idea of progressiveness is having a lesbian sports coach in Gul Panag. But then again, it’s like rubbing salt on the wounds. You have a female sports coach and no female athletes.
And to think that in real life, it is the female sportswomen who brought international laurels to the country in recent years – Mary Kom, P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar, Sania, Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepika Kumari, Karnam Malleswari, Krishna Poonia, and more.
Gul Panag’s lesbian character is mere tokenism and does nothing for the upliftment of the female student population. Worse still, she gets reduced to a joke that lasts for less than 2 mins. Even Maggi enjoys better dignity and status!
And here at home, I am motivating my daughter to aim for the General Proficiency, Best Student of the Year award, and more at school. And then, there’s Karan Johar and his sexist Student of the Year Award. Hmmmppphhh!
The saving grace is that Rohan, the male protagonist played by Tiger Shroff is not sexist and incredibly supportive of his ‘girlfriends’ career ambitions. The all-white feminist hero! Hallelujah!
Rohan could be the modern-day desi poster-child for Bryan Adam’s ’90’s hit “Everything I do, I do it for you.”
Also, Tiger is more in his bare minimum than both the heroines combined. Oh, I forgot, there’s Alia Bhatt too who makes a special appearance in the ‘Hook-Up’ song at the end. So, there’s objectification with consent galore irrespective of the gender.
It’s the first time I am watching all the lead actors.
Tiger Shroff is just as pleasing onscreen as he is offscreen. He fits the Bollywood masala hero to the T. The man can act, dance, kick, fly, and look dishy. What more do you want?
Ananya Pandey has unconventional looks for a Bollywood heroine which could prove to be her USP. Even though the Student of the Year 2 is focused on Tiger Shroff and Aditya Seal, it is Ananya Pandey who steals the show. She has the best debut with the interesting character of Shreya that has shades from the anti-heroine to the heroine. Ananya Pandey kills it with her debut.
Tara Sutaria is a beauty pageant winner material – a living doll. But she is one of the weakest aspects of the film. Considering that she had prior acting experience with Disney earlier, you would expect more from her. But she disappoints even though she plays Mridula aka Mia, an equally grey character like Shreya played by Ananya Pandey. Tara has the goods required for the glamour world. Maybe she’ll pick up in the upcoming movies as she learns the ropes of the game. Everyone has a different growth trajectory.
Aditya Seal is convincing as the anti-hero. Nearly all the supporting cast including Gul Panag, Samir Soni as Principal, and Manasi Joshi Roy, are wasted and reduced to embarrassing caricatures. Why oh why!
I loved the special appearances of Farah Khan, Vishal-Shekhar, and Will Smith.
The Media and Entertainment industry plays a significant role in shaping the fabric of society. Apart from the material aspirations of minting money at the box-office, there needs to be an onus on the filmmakers to play fair while offering a sweet escape to its target audience.
Student of the Year 2 lacks soul and depth. Considering that the target audience is between 13-25 years at the max, SOTY 2 delivers the job. Some hits and some misses. On the whole, it’s entertaining, and a one-time watch.
A Pizza isn’t necessary, but it’s not a crime if it exists on the menu. Enjoy without guilt or shame! In moderation of course!
Image source: a still from Student of the Year 2
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Winner of the Rashtriya Gaurav Award (2019) in association with the Government of Telangana for ‘
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