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Review of movie ‘Student of the year’

October 20, 2012

Saw the movie ‘Student of the year’ today afternoon. In short its “Karan Johar formula” movie, with total disregard to good taste and logic. Several times during the movie I thought, ‘Oh Mansoor Khan (of JJWS & QSQT fame): Why did you stop making movies?’. I went ahead to think to him ‘let the farmers do what they are good at i.e. farming. You were so promising in your first two movies. You disappointed your umpteen fans by stopping to make movies. When good people are not in action, naturally that space gets filled up by other mediocre ones’.

Talking about this movie, there are several things that are wrong. From the basic core structure of the movie i.e. Showing an elite school, with no emphasis on the core reason of its existence i.e. education and learning. To lots of minor errors every where. A lousy Principal, with not even a  pretense of discipline (Come on… we thought Boman Irani showed us how to play a solid Prinicipal in so many movies, then why do we have to fall on lame tactics. The comedy of a situtation is often because of friction between the contrarian characters – think ‘3 idiots’. Not because you have a lame-duck Principal, with a weak-happy-to-go-along personality and a still weaker character – like hitting on the school football coach.

Also wonder, the lines some of the characters speak, does it reflect the movie director’s philosophy in life? A rich industrialist, with no respect for education, when he makes a snide remark in his speech, given to the school he funds and where his son studies, that if he had studied well, he would have been sitting in the place of teachers. So here is KJo trying to celebrate the “trader” mentality of a lot of got-rich-by-jugaad Indians. Agreed, that examples of good academician getting rich in India are few and far. But still they do exist. There are Entrepreneurs like NRN Murthy and Azim Premji. Heck, there is also the Rewa Car company founder, who though not yet in the same league, but does hold a promise of an Indian Elon Musk (Dear Director of this movie, if you have not heard of this name you are going to hear about it a lot. And I dare say, your kids are going to study about this name when they go to school).

And what happens when students are supposed to take an IQ test, as part of this ‘Student of the year’ competition. They get into a song sequence with main words as ‘Ratta maar’. Come on Mr. Johar, you don’t pass an IQ test by doing “ratta maar”. And even this idea of putting in an IQ test, as a token presence of academics in the competition is wrong. IQ tests are no longer in fashion any more, as they are shown to reward a particular kind of practice, and so does not hold a straight forward correlation between a person’s intelligence and how he/she score in these tests.

Another problem is that of the blatant abuse of swear words in the movies. To be precise, they can’t risk an ‘A’ certificate and are greedy for family audiences’ money, and so they must atleast get a ‘UA’, so they have to resort to spelling out abuses rather than actually saying it. If its not obvious then I will explain by mock saying it back to movie makers: “F U Mr. Director. This style was total cha-mein-u-ki-matra…pa on your part.”

After the movie, we were thankful, that we didn’t fall for this UA trap and get kids along. Also in general recently we have observed that English movie UAs are much more “safer” for kids than hindi ones. But that’s another topic.

Dear Reader, at this point you may ask, why do you care so much? Why not just see it and forget it. Its just fun. To that I will say, no Sir, there is no fun in mediocrity. You have fun when you watch movies like ‘Jo Jeeta wohi Sikander’. I name it here, because it is also a school movie and it also has a competition. If you were born, in the 90s and have not heard of that movie, then go pick a DVD and watch. It is brilliant and fun. That movie explains my first paragraph mention of Mansoor Khan, as he made that movie.

On making of movies. I am really-really thankful that there are quite a few of good movie makers – Aamir Khan, Anurag Kashyap and Raju Hirani to name just three. People who care deeply for good cinema. And try to make excellent movies which are fun. Only when you have to suffer through this Karan Johar bull shit do you feel the value of such good movies.

Now, I must make one thing clear, I don’t hold any personal grudge against Karan Johar. Its just the mediocrity going un-penalized which I dislike. I feel, if a lot more people start to make good movies, then there will be more pressure on these kind of movie makers (which are unfortunately more in number) to conform to certain standards.

I really wonder, why don’t better people go on and make movies. People who have better taste. People who care for logic. And also believe a bit in Science rather than superstition. The Principal in the movie is shown to something-like-pray to his plants. And they show a guy topping that IQ test, which I mention above by just praying ‘Jai mata di’ before selecting a choice. Mathematically inclined people, will not find this funny at all.

Overall, I give this movie 1 & 1/2 out of 5.

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