Student of the Year when announced seemed like a mega cheesy movie that would completely suck. The only reason I was interested at all was that both guys were hot and the girl seemed cute. Then the songs, and more importantly their promos, came out. I loved those promos so much I even had my non-Indian roommates singing along to Radha. Every single promo offered something new, and my favorite was no matter what song it was, there were some jealous/angry/competitive looks exchanged, which just made me more curious as to what the movie would be about. By the time the movie released, my friends and I were all super pumped and excited to watch it. We all thought it was going to be a horrible movie, but we hoped it would still be at least a little entertaining and were mostly excited to see the guys and the full videos for the songs. I finally saw it last Thursday, and was pleasantly surprised. Warning: I got a bit carried away in excitement while writing this review, so it's a little long.
Let's first talk about the plot. Basically Rohan (Varun Dhawan) is the big shot in the school (or college, I forget...it's not really that important) and he has been dating Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) for like 3 years. Rohan is the son of a business tycoon (Ram Kapoor) and is super rich, so all the girls chase after him and all the guys are his chamchas (spoons). Shanaya is a spoiled brat who's completely clueless yet popular. Her biggest competition is Tanya (Sana Saeed aka little Anjali from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) who shamelessly flirts with Rohan all the time. One day, with a complete Hrithik Roshan from K3G style entrance with the song Kukkad, Abhi (Sidharth Malhotra) comes to college and of course ends up one-up-ing Rohan.
The two compete for a bit but then of course become best friends. Now in case you can't tell from the Ishq Wala Love promos, both guys end up loving the girl and we have a typical love triangle. This triangle is complicated by the fact that the dean of the school (Rishi Kapoor) holds an annual Student of the Year competition for the students that consists of a couple elimination rounds and a final triathlon that rewards the winner with scholarships to Ivy League colleges. It doesn't help that Rohan's dad thinks Rohan is a complete nalayak (good for nothing) boy and that Abhi is much better. The story goes from there.
In itself, the plot is eh. It's pretty much what you would expect from the promos...there's nothing new or surprising in the story itself. What made the movie better than expected was that there was never a dull moment. The movie somehow managed to keep me completely involved from beginning (well...10 minutes into the movie) to end. The first 10 minutes or so were confusing, overly animated, and frankly stupid. We were all pretty convinced the movie would be horrible at that point. Once the story actually picked up though, we all got into it. To start the movie off, all main characters were introduced really well and the audience took a liking to all three of them right off the bat. They also remixed old songs, which I completely loved. Once the story picked up, there were verryyyy few scenes that dragged. Usually though, once a scene got too happy or too sad, something was said or something happened that changed the mood completely. Now I'm not saying this took you on a complete 3 Idiots kind of emotional roller coaster, but there was still more emotional depth than expected. I definitely shed a tear or two in the middle and literally laughed out loud several times.
A lot of the comedic punches were hilarious, like the Rohan/Abhi gay joke, a lot of Rishi Kapoor's lines, etc., and many one liners and gags were pretty well executed. A couple of my favorites (paraphrased a bit because contrary to popular belief, I don't actually have a photographic memory) are "akkad ki bhi koi aukat hoti hai, aur is college mein woh meri hai" and "is duniya mein do type ke log hote hain - ek chamcha aur doosra kaanta." Both of these, and more, are pretty well worded.
Okay before I continue going on about how there was never a dull moment and the movie was so much better than expected blah blah blah same stuff I've said so many times already, let's move on to acting. All three of the main characters are newbies. Alia did a very convincing job as the ditsy Shanaya. She had the correct balance of cute, bubbly, sassy, and clueless. Sidharth was good as Abhi and lived up to the stubbornness, arrogance, and ambitiousness his character required. He could have done better on the vulnerability part, but he wasn't bad. Varun as Rohan was by far my favorite. He was that tough guy with a heart of gold...your stereotypical musician. He was arrogant and stubborn at times, but his good intentions and charm won me over. He also handled the emotional scenes really well. What makes Varun even better is that he can actually dance...really well! I definitely want to see a lot more of him. Oh and before we move on, there was another famous person who made their debut in this movie. Sana Saeed, who as I said previously was the girl who played Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, played the role of Tanya. It took me a while to recognize her since this is the first time I've seen her since KKHH, but she did a good job. It was really nice to see her in a movie, but I can't picture her as a lead actress unfortunately. Maybe she'll come in another movie and prove me wrong, but we'll see.
Then we see Rishi Kapoor as the dean. He is flawless as always and perfectly captures the spirit of the character. The way he says "dishoom dishoom dishoom dishoom" and "boys will be boys" was hilarious. I highly doubt anyone else could have performed that role as beautifully as he did. Ronit Roy as the coach, Ram Kapoor as the business tycoon, and Boman Irani as the rival school's dean were all good as well.
Overall the movie was much much better than I would have imagined and I enjoyed the entire thing. It was a bit predictable, but it's not like I was there for the plot anyways. It's a typical Karan Johar movie, so there's a lot of masti, masala, and cheesiness, but I actually liked it more than I liked a lot of other K-Jo movies. In fact, I'm already excited to watch this movie again, whenever that may be.
Oh and btw, I'm not gonna give out too many spoilers, but let's just say that even if you hate the movie, the surprise in The Disco Song will make the entire movie worth it for you.