Film: Student Of The Year 2
Director: Punit Malhotra
Cast: Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria, Ananya Panday and Aditya Seal
Stars: 2.5 out of 5

Tiger Shroff’s snazzy college drama Student Of The Year 2 is ridiculously trite and inane, but there’s a bit of wicked fun to be had.

Filled with angsty teenagers, exaggerated heartbreaks and petty rivalry, a brawny Shroff plays Rohan, a middle-class underdog who takes on a bunch of wealthy, privileged students from his new college Saint Teresas.

It’s a student campus that seems to be teeming with superrich brats who are given a free rein on campus. They are all sporty with zero competitive spirit and nerds are almost extinct in this gilded universe.

The tropes attached to director and producer Karan Johar’s 2012 Student Of The Year gets a swish update from director Punit Malhotra. The latest SOTY instalment seems to be the rich man’s indulgent version of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Aamir Khan’s iconic 1992 film.

There’s plenty of good-looking people in this unthreatening, slightly soulless drama. While Shroff comes across as a modern day Tarzan with heightened sensitivity and grace of a ballet dancer, salon-perfect Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday make for some charming eye candy.

The first half of SOTY2 is delightfully breezy as we are introduced into Rohan’s world. He’s smitten by his sweetheart Mia (Sutaria) and follows her to her posh college. His world falls apart when he realises that Mia isn’t into him as much as he is into her. You can smell her discontent from a distance, but Rohan is oblivious to it all. He finds happiness in her dreams and she feels suffocated. But that interesting thread of young girls wanting more than relationships isn’t explored and the film trundles down a familiar, overdramatic route.

Rohan’s heartbroken when he realises that the wealthy, popular student Manav — a pleasing debut by actor Aditya Seal — has caught his girlfriend’s fancy. Heartbreak follows, but Rohan’s gut-wrenching pain feel synthetic and superficial. Though this handsome batch are likeable, none of the characters manage to connect with you on a deep level. Plus, the physical prowess of Rohan and Manav — although they are top athletes of their college — seem unreal. They are too ripped to be real. The class divides between the students of a posh school and the middle-class college isn’t given much play either.

Having said that, we have to give full marks to the new batch of SOTY 2 for their collective earnestness. Sutaria and Panday make a good impression in their debuts. They both seem born to romance the camera and have an effortless ease about the way in which they emote. Panday as the mercurial Shreya is sweet, while Sutaria has striking good looks on her side. They are both instantly likeable.

While the first hour is immensely enjoyable, the second half of the film feels laboured. A contest called the Dignity Cup — where students compete in kabaddi and running — is stretched to painful lengths. The ending is painfully predictable and how far can good looks take you in a film? Watch this to get a fair idea.