STORY: A small town boy Rohan Sehgal ( Tiger Shroff ), madly in love with his childhood sweetheart Mridula ( Tara Sutaria ), follows her to city’s top college. But this new term brings friends, foes and cut-throat competition along with heartbreak. Will he bounce back and beat the odds to become the Student of the Year?
REVIEW: Pretty young things in designer wear, dapper dudes with rippling muscles, scorching hot-wheels and a colourful campus buzzing with all sorts of extra-curricular activities - Welcome to the class of 2019 at Dehradun’s most upscale college Saint Teresa. It's a place where all things are pretty and glossed over. Film’s leading man (Tiger Shroff) fits right into the scheme of things when he secures an admission with a sports quota. He comes from a lesser privileged college, where students don't have the luxury of fancy cars and fashionable clothes. But his many talents start becoming a cause of concern for the current poster boy of Saint Teresa, Manav Mehra (Aditya Seal). Add to that, Manav's sister Shreya (Ananya), the college brat, who thinks of herself as no less than a princess, is all set to take on Rohan and embarrass him at every given opportunity. This sets the stage for a testosterone led confrontation of one-upmanship that involves love, ladies and competitiveness. Much of the story revolves around the four main characters, who fall in and out of love without much ado. There’s no heartbreak too deep that can shatter them, or a punch so strong that it can break them. The narrative stays sweet, simple and along predictable lines.
Tiger Shroff pretty much carries the film on his well-toned shoulders, and his sweet boy charm works for the part. His strengths are showcased with skill and attention – whether he is dancing like a dream, running on the tracks (the camera accentuating his muscles and sinew in close-ups), playing kabaddi or flipping in the air and landing with a blow.
While film’s leading ladies Tara and Ananya are glammed up to the T and flaunt the best designer wear that money can buy, their roles aren’t tailored to perfection. Especially, Tara’s character doesn't seem well-etched out. While her screen presence is impressive, her performance is average. Thankfully, for Ananya, her character gets a definite curve and a convincing backstory that works in her favour. Her performance gradually grows on you, especially in some of her meet cute scenes with Tiger. Ditto, for the film’s anti-hero Aditya Seal. He pulls off his part well, looking every bit the classy, rich spoilt brat.
While there was far more scope for comedy, some of the best laugh-out-loud moments come from Tiger’s gang of friends. Among them, Harsh Beniwal leaves a lasting impression with his wisecracks and comic timing.
Director Punit Malhotra ensures that a lot of drama and action remain out of the classroom, with focus on sports, dance and romance, not that the new age campus kids will complain. However, the chemistry between Tiger and the two debutantes doesn't quite warm your heart. And while it comes seven years after SOTY, the writing doesn’t seem to have come of age.
Music is quite average, unlike the previous SOTY, which had songs like Radha and the Disco song that could probably feature on your playlist, even today. The edit could have been crisper. With the story at hand, the film could have had a shorter runtime. While the first half is spent in setting the tone of the film, second half gets a tad more exciting when the drama and action unfold. The film does make you nostalgic about Mansoor Khan's 1992 hit Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, of course, this one is a modern-day snazzier version.
Overall, SOTY 2 doesn’t have that Ishq wala love , but there is ample dosti, high school drama and cool stuff to keep you going. It's always fun rooting for the underdog and you'll find yourself doing that here, too. There's not much to fuss over, but for the young campus generation, it's a fun and breezy watch. With enough lessons in styling and fashion (out of syllabus, of course).