‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ (1992) is probably the first name which comes to one’s mind when one thinks of Hindi films which featured characters in high schools. The Hindi film industry has not made too many films in this genre. One can just think of a few more names like ‘Rok Sako To Rok Lo’ (2004) and ‘Sixteen’ (2013) – these are films which featured the trials and tribulations of teenagers studying in high schools. Karan Johar’s ‘Student Of The Year’ (2012) was a vastly entertaining but quite unrealistic portrayal of high school life in India. The success of the film encouraged Johar to make more films in the same franchise. He handed over the reins to Punit Malhotra to make the second film in the franchise titled ‘Student Of The Year 2’. While one’s expectation from the film is the same as the first one, one also expects a good dose of action since Tiger Shroff is leading the show here.
Rohan (Tiger Shroff) and Mridula (Tara Sutaria) are childhood sweethearts who grew up studying in Pishorilal Chamanlal School. At one point, Mridula shifts to the upscale St. Teresa High School and College. Since that day, Rohan has been harbouring the dream to study in St. Teresa so that he can be around Mridula again. Finally, Rohan gets an admission in St. Teresa through a sports-based scholarship. When he meets Mridula (or Mia as she calls herself now) there, he finds that she has changed drastically as a person. She tells him times have changed and the equation between them is not the same anymore. Soon, Mia has a change of heart when she sees Rohan outperforming Manav (Aditya Seal), the star student of the school/college and falls for him all over again. Meanwhile, Tiger is troubled by the antics of Shreya (Ananya Panday), the school trustee’s daughter.
Despite all the implausible and unrealistic things it depicted, ‘Student Of The Year’ was a fairly layered film which touched upon various aspects of the three protagonists’ and a few other important characters’ lives. In ‘Student Of The Year 2’, the supporting parts have not been etched out very well. In fact, most of them have been merely used as props. While the first film in the installment scored well on the emotional quotient, this one falters in that department. A lot of scenes and sequences are rushed into, thereby reducing their overall impact. For instance, the audience does not feel the love or the bond Rohan and Mridula had while studying at Pishorilal; their whole relationship is conveyed to us in a montage in which, a poor spin-off of “Ishq Wala Love” plays in the background. While Shreyas change of heart comes across as fairly natural, the same cannot be said about the U-turn Mridula at a crucial juncture of the narrative.
Now, let us have a look at what works in the film. Barring the first 15-20 minutes, where the narrative has been constructed a little haphazardly and the over-the-top humour does not work, the film turns out to be an entertaining fare. Sure, the aforementioned problems are there but the screenplay maintains a good rhythm and flow with some minor but effective twists thrown in for good measure. The penultimate moments of the climatic sequence make a strong impact but the whole setting looks a little constrained, hence robbing the sequence of dynamism. Just like ‘Student Of The Year’, this film too revolved around high school life but the makers try to give an impression that it is a college based setting.
In an interview which Karan Johar gave prior to the release of ‘Student Of The Year’, he was asked as to why did he cast 24-27 year olds like Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra as high school kids, he replied when you cast teenagers in a film, it restricts the audience of that film. You have to cast proper ‘heroes’ even if you are making a film about high school students, so that more people come to watch the film. I guess they have applied the same formula to this film. Tiger Shroff still needs to polish his act and dialogue delivery/diction but he does well in the two departments he excels in – action and dance. His endearing sweet-and-innocent good boy charm works well for this film. Out of the two girls, Ananya Panday leaves a lasting impression with the ease and comfort she displays in front of the camera. Aditya Seal has given a good account of himself right from the time he made his debut as a child actor in ‘Ek Chhoti Si Love Story’ (2002) and is definitely someone who deserves leading parts in a film. There are some good actors like Manoj Pahwa, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Chetan Pandit and Sameer Soni but all of them have been wasted in roles that gives them limited scope to perform.
‘Student Of The Year 2’ does not live up to the standards of ‘Student Of The Year’, a film which was finely crafted and was a solid ‘bubble-gum’ entertainer but it is, nonetheless, a fun, entertaining fare that merits a watch.