Wednesday, November 14, 2012

KJ wali movie

Ok, first things first. I was kinda sure that Student Of The Year would be a massive flop. Debut movie of two star kids (kids of David Dhawan and Mahesh Bhatt no less). The ingredients seemed perfect for a superdupermega flop. Think Saawariya. Think Sadiyaan. So when I found out that the movie was a big hit, I was curious. I also wanted to see what Karan Johar was upto, and whether his filmmaking style had changed at all. In all honesty, I had absolutely loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and mostly liked Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (in spite of a very irritating Kajol) and Kal Ho Na Ho. It was only Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna which had shaken me to the core. How could KJ direct SUCH a terrible movie? I mean, when you go to watch a movie, you have to care for at least one of the characters, right? In KANK, I couldn't be bothered with any of the whiny lot (and I was shocked that SRK played such a whiny guy!), and I was kinda hoping everyone in the movie would die quickly so I could go home. My Name Is Khan didn't do much for me either. I felt sad. 

The main reason why I had liked KKHH was that it had made me laugh and it had made me cry. I cried when little Anjali got the word 'ma' in her extempore competition and SRK saved the day and said, "Lekin hamaare paas Papa hain, aur woh bhi kaafi acchhe hain." I cried when a heartbroken Anjali sang "Tujhe yaad na meri aayi" in the rain. I cried at the last scene, when SRK mimed 'I love you' to Kajol in her bridal dress. Ok, I may have also also cried a little bit at how insanely handsome Salman Khan looked in the song 'Saajanji ghar aaye'. Anyway, my point is -- it is not easy to make the audience cry. Crying for/with a fictional character had made me feel human, feel real. If I could cry for a fictional character, I was not dead on the inside. Phew. And at times, when I feel myself getting too cynical, I crave to experience that feeling. But somehow watching KKHH on DVD is not the same as when I had watched it in the theatre. Maybe it's just a certain age and stage in your life that such movies move you the most. 

It had been a while since my Bollywood buddy Starbreez and I had watched a movie together. So I took the holy name of KJ and convinced her to go with me. What about Xena, you ask? Viv and I have a new arrangement. He watches English movies, while I watch Xena, and I watch Hindi movies when he watches her. It works great, because if we really like something, we recommend it to each other and then find other friends to watch it with. I think it will be a while before he and I can watch a movie together.

Okay, first things first. The story. It was definitely weaker than KJ's usual stuff, and at one point just seemed like a day-to-day account of college. Even the competition, which is the central theme of the movie, kinda seemed silly with  a kiddish treasure hunt, and boys and girls in the same swimming competition. Just when I tried to justify it as Bollywood fluff, it was addressed towards the end of the movie. That took me by surprise.

The actors. Okay, I SO did not see that coming. These kids can act. Well, they're not great actors, but I expected them to be really really bad. I was glad to be proven wrong, for all three have made confident debuts. Kudos to KJ for moving away from his bag of established stars and putting his faith in total newcomers (star kids of all actors!) for his directorial comeback.

I started off with a softer spot for Varun Dhawan over Sidharth Malhotra. Because you know, Varun is better looking. But as the movie progressed, Sid also grew on me, and by the end of the movie, I actually liked both of them equally. But I will still maintain one thing. Varun is better looking. And oh, he's a great dancer. Alia Bhatt is very very cute. Flawless skin, symmetric features, nice hair, cute dimples, beautiful smile. And boy, can she pull off red lipstick. By red, I mean RED. And just when you dismiss her as just a doll, you realise she's not too bad as an actress.

In several places, the movie reminded me of Dil Chahta Hai (friends falling out over girl issues, reminiscing and meeting in a hospital) and Jaane Tu (story related by a gang of friends).

The movie was light and breezy and funny in places. I remember laughing at a number of scenes in the movie, but strangely, I couldn't remember any of them by the time I came home. The only one I remembered was the next day, and it was "Bas bolna tha - Be Punjabi!"

I don't know why KJ likes to rope in Kajol for guest appearances in his movies. There she was, appearing out of nowhere in the Disco Deewane song. Frankly speaking, she looked awkward and totally out of place. Kajol fans are now going to throw their hands up and close the browser. I'm sorry. I used to like her at one point. I really did.

I loved the songs a lot more after watching the movie. But, I still can't get over the idiotic lyrics in Ishq wala love. Oh, did anyone else mishear 'Waise wala love' as 'Paise wala love?' I really really wish it had nice dreamy lyrics that justified the Kashmir backdrop. Who takes the cast and crew to snowy mountains to shoot something called 'Ishq wala love'??? 

Bollywood has progressed so much, but one thing will never change. Songs shot in the snow will ALWAYS have the hero nicely bundled up in layers and layers of sweaters and scarves, but the heroine will always be in a translucent chiffon sari and sleeveless blouse, or a sleeveless short dress. Sigh. If you look carefully, at one point, you will see poor Alia literally shiver as she lip syncs the song.

Rishi Kapoor got a lot of rave reviews for his portrayal as the gay dean, but I thought he was ok. I was just glad they didn't make him over-the-top gay, like they do in a lot of movies.

Ram Kapoor. Ronit Roy. Gautami. What's with all the TV stars in the movie? KJ showing loyalty to his friend Ekta Kapoor? But they were all well suited to their roles, so no complaints. 

Overall, the movie was watchable. I did not enjoy it as much as the two obnoxious teenagers sitting next to me and saying the dialogues ahead of time. Of course, I found it really silly that for someone who has obviously watched the movie, they put their hands together and fervently chanted "Come on, Abhi! Come on, Abhi!" during the race. Sheesh.

The best moment in the movie for me was the scene during Rohan's brother's wedding, with just instrumental music playing in the background as the characters interacted with one another without saying a single word. Beautifully done, and reminiscent of KJ's old signature style. 

PS: I just realised that if I wasn't so mad at the chap who plagiarised my emoji posts, this would be my third consecutive post on Student Of The Year!


Varsha said...

Nice review, I second many of your thoughts, which made me write a bit on KANK myself long ago when it was released.
But shall have to catch Student of the year on TV only. Atleast I know it is worth a watch.

Kanan said...


I loved the movie too. Waiting to go watch it again. I have to say I liked Sidharth better than Varun from the beginning and even after the movie. Completely agree about acting skills of these newbies and the songs.

Prithi Shetty said...

Loved this statement -

"...If I could cry for a fictional character, I was not dead on the inside. Phew. And at times, when I feel myself getting too cynical, I crave to experience that feeling. But somehow watching KKHH on DVD is not the same as when I had watched it in the theatre. Maybe it's just a certain age and stage in your life that such movies move you the most. ..."

~ PragyaN ~ said...

wonderful review! n I just loved the part where you mentioned about the "Songs shot in the snow".. the trademark style of Bollywood love stories :P

humblog said...

I will pretend you didn't say that about kajol.

And btw KANK is short for KANKASORE

mythalez said...

good post ... but you _still_ can't convince me to watch the movie :P The trailer put me totally off!

saketv said...

Nice review.... i am bringing it up my list to watch over the thanksgiving weekend.

--Sunrise-- said...

I COMPLETELY agree with your sentiments on all the K-wala movies, except, Miss Bollyholic, Kal Ho Na Ho was not directed by K-Jo but Nikhil Advani! :P

I understand what you mean about the certain age and stage. I'd do anything to have that magical nostalgia back, which is why I think deep down, I was secretly rooting for SOTY to be a mushy, feel-good hit. I think I was looking for a KKHH high or something... don't ask! :S

I didn't quote throw my hands up and close the browser but hoo boy I came close :P She did look a bit fat, but she still looked fantastic! And oh, those eyes...

Bahahahahaah @ paise wala love... hahahahaha now I will think of only that! :P

I liked the movie but was left feeling empty and dry, if only because I was desperately seeking another Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Maybe I only have my personal issues to blame for that; everything is moving so fast and getting so grown up that I've started longing for that childhood comfort that it's all still going slow and going okay... whoops, getting too senti na? :P I guess I should really watch it again with an open mind.

Someone on BollyWhat? commented on how perhaps the whole SOTY competition is a bit like K-Jo's comment on the Hindi film industry, and how people are chosen over others and given impossible tasks that do not match their abilities, etc. I thought this was a neat comparison. If I could interview Karan, I'd love to have known more about how he felt about this.

One thing I did like was Karan's frank honesty about who he is and what kinds of films he makes. There's a chat show that he has with some lady and his three actors where he talks about SOTY, his style of film-making and how he felt the whole thing had gone. And can you believe it? He came across as a really mature, composed and freaking KNOWLEDGEABLE man - NOTHING like the persona he projects with his fluffy movies. Made me discover some kind of newfound respect for him. How I wish he'd translate that maturity and depth into a movie, it would be grand, glorious and totally real, too! Sigh.

Sayesha said...

Thanks. :)

Too? Don't say too yaar! I didn't love the movie or anything. It was an ok watch. :)

Thanks. :)

Thanks. :)

Sorry, Kajol fan! :P

Hehe, don't worry, you won't miss much if you miss this movie. :)

Thanks. :)

If you did read my post, perhaps you may have noticed that nowhere did Miss Bollyholic say that KHNH was directed by KJ. I still consider it a KJ wali movie though, not only because KJ produced it, but because it had the KJ stamp all over. :)

Sayesha said...

Oh btw, KJ also co-wrote the story of KHNH. :)

--Sunrise-- said...

lol ooops, I was too tired!! :P but you're right, it's definitely a KJ-wali movie. it's just one of my favourite things to catch people out on, though, as most lay people aren't aware of it. should've known better from you... apologies <3

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