All That Jazz

Alisha Shinde and Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Prior to the release of the much-talked about Student of the Year 2, students and educationists tell Alisha Shinde and Amrita Prasad how the trailer harps on fancy and unrealistic stuff

As soon as the trailer of Student of the Year 2 was launched, it was the most talked about thing on the internet. From memes to hilarious parodies, everyone made jokes about Karan Johar’s latest installment, which is set to hit theatres on May 10. A sequel to the 2012 Student of The Year, SOTY2 stars Tiger Shroff and newbies Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria. Taking a queue from the first part, the three-minute long trailer has Tiger flexing his muscles and mouthing dialogues like, “Din tera hai, saal mera hoga (the day is yours, but the year will be mine)”.

Tara is shown as an ambitious girl who wants to win the dance competition while Ananya is a fearless brat, who is not afraid to speak her mind. 

If you are wondering why is the trailer being bashed and ridiculed by everyone, it is because the film portrays school life, both campus and students, in an extremely fashionable and unrealistic way. KJo’s last venture Kalank failed at the box office and his latest project seems to be going in the wrong direction too. Creating a highly glamourised world is not appropriate for an educational institute. 

The trailer gives glimpses of a story brimming with high school drama, nail-biting fights, confusing love triangles, two girls fighting over a boy, lots of synchronised dancing and a heavy dose of clichés. It opens with the announcement of a dance competition which Tiger wants to win, and the two female leads vying for his attention. There are hundreds of people dancing on the campus, super stylish college-goers and expensive cars, making the audience wonder where such educational institutes exist.

“If there is one word which I would use to describe the trailer of SOTY2, it would be: unrealistic,” says Aniket Powar, studying in Australia. Earlier, Powar studied at a Central school in India that had a strict environment and instead of practising flying techniques, they learnt sports techniques. 

“I understand movies sometimes completely miss out on logic, but this is absurd,” he says pointing out that even though he now studies in an international college overseas, he hardly sees students strutting around in expensive sports cars and wearing tonnes of labels. “Students in universities literally live on a tight budget and most of the money goes into food, housing and college projects,” he adds.  

Powar also mentions that SOTY2 blatantly shows the divide between rich and poor. “I have studied in an Indian college and I can tell you this divide does not exist to the extent it is shown in the movie, people do not befriend each other depending on their bank balances or the cars and bikes that they drive or where they party,” he says. 

Gujarat-based content writer Darshi Shah says that she never knew she could easily fight and dance through her college woes. “Having watched SOTY earlier, I know what to expect in the ninja version of it,” says she adding, “I understand in the world of Karan Johar, the ‘poor’ can afford to wear Gucci and high-end labels, but it’s not so in the real world.” 

Pointing out an instance from the trailer where Ananya’s character calls Tiger a ‘princess’, Shah says, “We live in the 21st century where feminism is a big thing, so painting a cycle pink and calling someone a princess is not acceptable.”     

“The trailer shows everything about college life — college romance, college politics, college action, college fights and sports and obviously, fancy people and their fancy lifestyles, but an integral part that is actually missing is being a legit college student attending a damn college,” says Kolkata-based digital marketing professional Aditi Paul.

“It’s been years since I graduated, but I am pretty sure that colleges now don’t have the absurd things that are painted in the trailer,” she says.

Paul is of the opinion that even though it is a movie meant to be entertaining and launch careers of some newbies, it lacks common sense. “Being in marketing I know it is safe to say that such a product that misses out on logic and commonsense does not do well, the audience is not going to buy it,” she adds. 

Upasana Roy, a teacher from Assembly of God Church School, Durgapur, West Bengal, too finds the SOTY2 trailer really annoying.  “KJo, a victim of Indian misogyny himself, promotes the very idea in his movies. He, who patronises movies like Kapoor & Sons, Raazi, also produces such disgusting movies like SOTY2 and Kalank. I really can’t get my head around him. Out of the two thousand and twelve things wrong with the SOTY2 trailer, I am most disgusted by one of the sassy leads who show off her ‘badassery’ by spray-painting a guy’s bike pink (clearly for taking her spot) and calling him ‘princess’ accompanied by a little courtesy. Someone needs to tell KJo it’s 2019 and you can’t be promoting misogyny and stereotypes associated with gender,” says Roy.

Mumbai-based Usha Banerjee, a former teacher at a Loreto Convent in West Bengal, is also quite furious with the trailer. She feels that the actresses who are supposed to be acting like students, are being objectified in those extremely obscene outfits. “No school lets you walk in like that. There are youngsters struggling to continue with their education because of lack of funds and here we see these rich kids dancing, singing and kissing at school. I know it’s a film, but films do have an impact on young minds and it is completely unacceptable to see students behaving in such a frivolous way!” she remarks.

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