Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 19th October, 2012
Time : 146 minutes
Director : Karan Johar; Writer : Rensil D’Silva; Music : Vishal & Shekhar
Starring : Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra, Rishi Kapoor, Ram Kapoor, Ronit Roy, Manjot Singh, Sana Saeed, Kayoze Irani, Mansi Rachh, Sahil Anand
This film is clearly not meant for me, or my ilk, I am not the target audience. It is set on Planet Bubblegum and its accompanying satellite, Moon Candyfloss and comprises :
Introductory songs for each of its three leads
Rippling abs – both male and female
Plunging necklines and rising hemlines – only female
Multiple buttons open for shirts and sherwanis – ony for the male leads
Cardboard characters at home
A picture perfect school, auditorium, facilities that wouldn’t be out of place at an international Olympic training venue
Multiple item numbers, which inform us what the leads are going through at various points in time
Storms in teacups, which seem to derail lives or funnily bring them together again
Where the normal, minor stuff like Boards or A-levels / O-levels, Grades etc are NEVER mentioned – the only thing worth living for is obviously the internal college competition
The all Important, life changing competition, offering full scholarship to US Ivy league colleges, which includes (hold your breath) a treasure hunt, triathalon and (now exhale slowly to avoid risk of serious injury), a dance competition
And a predictable, feel-good ending, which is full of the sweetness and fluff that you would expect from its makers
There are moments of fun. Alia pouts like anything. Shops, is tasked with looking good, Is shown to be long-legged but intellectually dwarfed. Her ‘Main Maa ban ne wali hoon’ was one of the more comical lines. Sidharth is essentially given the department of soulful looks (mostly directed at Alia) and occasional instances of hunk-ism. He is the serious type, the one from a humbler background, short of money (though it never stops him from wearing cool threads or having the best sports accessories money can buy), who wants to become someone, someone like Ram Kapoor, the mega rich tycoon. And also, the father of Sidharth’s enemy turned friend turned…Varun Dhawan. Varun is the cool, casual, mischevious one. Has known Alia for years, is her boyfriend but isn’t sure about her. Wants to be a rock guitarist but we don’t really see him ever practice. Good things come to him without breaking a sweat, who typified the tagline of a now bygone brand, Denim – ‘For the Man who doesn’t have to try – too hard’.
There are several ancillary characters (the funniest, with some of the best lines, being Sahil Anand), and they all, for reason or reasons unknown, battle it out for the Student of the Year trophy, the brainchild of the effeminate, ‘Don’t you know I’m Gay’ Dean, Rishi Kapoor.
The film, like a reluctant swimmer, consciously never goes into deeper waters, preferring to only paddle in the comfortable, shallow sections. The characters are neither consistent nor have any layers. It stretches towards the end, where you just want it to be over. And, predictably, the end holds no surprises
Unlike the seminal student films of our era, I missed a core central message or a central theme, for example, Jo Jeeta Hai Wohi Sikander, was about the poor, good for nothing kid, who suddenly has to come of age and make it big. Even Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was single-mindedly about a triangular romance. Am struggling to put my finger on what this one was about. Having said that, I know there are going to be many takers for the popcorn philosophy practiced in this film, the light moments, the stereotypes, the glitz and the glamour. This is not set in the real world but on Planet Bubblegum. Watch, if you aspire to be its inhabitant.