Written by Manisha Lakhe on May 11, 2019
Template Of The Year
A wafer thin, predictable champions versus the underdogs plot, with actors that look like they’re posing for 146 minutes except for five awesome minutes. How and why the filmmakers imagine that Tiger Shroff’s almost 30 year old abs can pass off as 18 is a mystery. And Kabaddi is just weird to watch for that long…
How on earth do you get a readymade template wrong?
Whoever woke up from the stupor that this movie really is, and wrote the dialog for Ananya Pandey (delivered rather well, all things considering) deserves a pat on the back. So this is the scene: Ananya Pandey (as Shreya) in the new girlfriend avatar looks at love letter in Rohan’s (Tiger Shroff) hand (he’s reading it) and the previous girlfriend Mia (Tara Sutaria, rather insipid debut) who’s apologising via that handwritten three page missive sits right there rather contrite. The grown up audience has facepalmed several times by now is just numb at the goings on, and the kids in the theatre (yes, four and five year olds) are restless because Tiger Shroff has been underdog so far… Just then Ananya looks at the long letter and says, ‘Couldn’t you have just Whatsapped him an apology?’
That’s when I almost clapped! It gave me hope… I was breathing again. So far the old as hills romance plot (think Kati Patang even) with heroine running after – misguidedly of course – a sharpish guy who turns out to be a jerk was so boring and obvious (Mridula calls herself ‘Mia’ now), I had given up on the film. I am one of the few who just don’t like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, because of Aamir Khan’s perennial smirk, but even that story had depth. This film just stays in the shallows story wise and bores you to bits otherwise,
Tiger Shroff does his acrobatic muscleman thing, but Kabaddi? He did better as a man saving his ex’s kidnapped child in his last film…
Comparisons Are Expected…
Not that the original film was Mother India, but even then it is leaps ahead of this ‘ligament tear’ of a film. (matlab, painful!). Trouble is, the original Student Of The Year had so many more fun, heartwarming moments, that this film was just blah when compared. Even the actors don’t look special the way Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra did. Neither Aditya Seal, Tara Sutaria nor Abhishek Bajaj have that something extra zing that made Varun Dhawan and Alia such stars. The original story had more meat that this ‘everyone knows the story, so just let’s have them compete’ shadow of the original film. Comparisons are natural and even though Manoj Pahwa tries his best to be a ‘good’ grown up actor, you wish the youngsters had the same energy as the youngsters in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (also a college story in the first half).
They do try and do a Mrs.Braganza moment in this film by having Tiger Shroff flex his muscles to seduce the gym teacher, but it’s like a joke youngsters or anyone else who binges on Netflix shows can see a mile away: gym teachers will turn out to be lesbians. Such a shame they are still passing off this as a ‘fun’ or ‘joke’ moment. Why Karan Johar, why?
There’s kabaddi in store for much of the movie. Yes, yes, Aditya Seal who plays Manav (his hair art directed by someone with an Elvis hangover) tries to be the guy who has everything but is really a jerk with a passion that is not needed. And it doesn’t help if he is always accompanied by his Kabaddi team (lads who have the same barber and picked off from some ghastly gym). This may not be Punit Malhotra’s first film, but Manav giving Mia an obvious look of conspiracy died with the tele serial Mahabharat… The worst part is, you get to see that ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ scene in flashback again!
The songs that made the original film are all gone here. There are punjabi disco songs in this film that sound so generic, you yearn for the pink tree and ‘Ishq wala love’ from the original.
(this review sans subheads appears on www.nowrunning.com )