Karan Johar's Student of the Year introduces three young newcomers
It’s always an event when Karan Johar releases a film. With an impressive hit record that includes four films as writer/director and a dozen as producer, his name has become synonymous with the term Bollywood blockbuster.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and My Name Is Khan, all of which collectively grossed millions of dollars worldwide, have sealed his reputation as one of India’s top movie moguls as head of Dharma Productions.
So when Johar tweets that he is excited to reveal his new pet project, the media in India and abroad also get excited. Johar recently revealed teaser posters for his new feature, Student of the Year (SOTY), a youth-centered drama co-produced by Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.
The preview of SOTY was launched to coincide with the Raksha Bandhan festival with the official trailer to the movie going down a storm on You Tube, attracting over half a million views in just a few days.
A story of three friends, the trailer introduces best friends Abhimanyu (newcomer Siddharth Malhotra), Shanaya (Ali Bhatt, daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt) and Rohan (director David Dhawan's son Varun Dhawan). The most popular kids in school, they have everything going for them until the principal of Dehradun's St Teresa's High School (Rishi Kapoor) announces the 'Student of the Year' competition. In a contest which includes everything from academic studies to sport to dance, friends turn enemies and best friends turn competitors.
In the same mould as hit American movie, High School Musical, and television series, Glee, SOTY moves Bollywood college campus capers on from the days of innocent love affairs to a world of teen angst, rebellion and style conscious rich kids.
"After My Name Is Khan, I personally felt I needed to do something where I personally have fun. I like dance, song, glamour and of course, keep the emotions intact," says Johar about his new movie.
College has played the perfect backdrop for many Hindi movies, with romance and comedy being the most popular themes. Box office king, Aamir Khan, has starred in his fair share of youth-oriented flicks, starting with Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak in the 1980s, Dil and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar in the 1990s through to Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots in the 2000s.
Student lethargy was highlighted recently in Johar’s own home production, Wake Up Sid, featuring Ranbir Kapoor as a regular college youth who’d rather spend time hanging out with friends and watching movies than deciding on a career path. In Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year, Kapoor progresses from confused graduate to wannabe entrepreneur.
A more motivated student was portrayed by popular young actor, Imran Khan, who kicked off his career with coming-of-age drama, Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, much like his uncle Aamir. Another more seasoned Khan, namely Shah Rukh, has portrayed characters on both sides of the school fence; spoilt student (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) and liberal music teacher (Mohabbatein).
The girls also get a look in in Pyaar Impossible in which Priyanka Chopra and Uday Chopra form an unlikely couple as a college beauty and geek who are paired together by a twist of fate.
For those who like their Hindi films with less gloss and more edge, an unabashed, no holds barred look at how young Indian men of today think and choose to live their lives is shown in Dil Dosti etc, a drama set around students in Delhi University.
Cheating boyfriends and jilted college girls form the crux of Luv Ka The End, while fake social identities created by incompatible collegians feature in the storyline for Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge.
With 35% of India’s population currently below the age of 20, the youth remain a huge and significant audience for Bollywood. Johar knows this only too well and with SOTY, he has his camera lens focussed firmly on them.
Student of the Year releases worldwide October 19, 2012.
Images courtesy Dharma Productions.