Karan Johar does what he is best at; create a glossy fairytalish world revolving around love, friendship and mush. Infact, KJo manages to steer clear of heightened melodrama and actually packs in a little message, floundering on the logic once in a while but never on the slick production qualities.
The film is quite obviously inspired by Mansoor Khan’s classic ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’, where the inter-school competition has been replaced by an intra-school Triwizard Tournament – like (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) contest that will decide on the ‘Student of the Year’. Fortunately for us the plot is focused on the spirit of competition with a romantic interlude and keeps manipulation and vindication to the bare minimum. KJo insists on taking a short digression to show a Bollywood-style Big Fat Indian Wedding but we can make allowances for a little indulgence. What will all the NRIs do at their forthcoming weddings without the latest fashion tips from a KJo film? Karan takes quite a few cinematic liberties like the treasure hunt and the dance competition which are done just for the effect and have little semblance to a real competition.
This is the first time that Karan has stepped out of his comfort zone and worked with debut actors. Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra not only have gorgeous bodies but also have enough acting talent to make their presence felt. Going by the audience reaction, Siddharth has definitely garnered a huge female fan following in his very first film. As far as the looks are concerned, KJo had definitely prepped his cast well. Alia Bhatt might have shed the extra fat but her acting still needs a lot of work.
The supporting cast with Rishi Kapoor playing the gay dean, Ronit Roy as the coach, Ram Kapoor as the over-ambitious father and Kayoze Irani (Boman Irani’s son) as the fat friend, do complete justice to their roles. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is peppy but some of the songs could have done with better lyrics, especially, ‘Ishaqwala Love’.
In ‘SOTY’, Karan incorporates all his KJoisms but manages to make this one an effortless watch. The film is sure to be a big hit among the young cinegoers.