Student of the Year is a franchise that launches Karan Johar’s young friends into Bollywood. The first film, released in 2012, had a decent plot and an amazing soundtrack by Vishal-Shekhar. It also gave the world Alia Bhatt, for which we are grateful. Unfortunately, these are the only pros I could muster.
Karan Johar’s subpar characters
There’s no denying that Karan Johar is a powerhouse in the Indian film industry. His company Dharma Productions has managed to deliver numerous hits. Needless to say, the movies resonate with the audience. That’s where the problem arises.
Just take a look at this scene
Karan Johar spoke in detail about his sexual orientation in his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy, and has been vocal about it ever since. However, we fail to see this being reflected in his movies.
Johar’s movies have always portrayed gay characters as caricatures. For a person who’s an influential film producer, director and belongs to the gay community, Karan Johar sets a really bad example. This is especially true in his 5th directorial, Student of the Year.
Student of the Year owes the gay community an apology
Rishi Kapoor plays Dean Yogendra Vashishth, whose only character trait is that he is gay and horny. Let me rephrase, he’s gay and horny for Ronit Roy’s character, Coach Karan Shah. There’s a guy on Splendor who’s overtaking dudes on Ducatis, and yet it’s Rishi Kapoor’s character that’s more cringy. Go figure.
As a matter of fact, the coach on whom the dean is constantly hitting on is heterosexual and married! Last I checked, gay people don’t hit on heterosexuals, let alone married heterosexuals. Just check out the article I wrote on ‘Made in Heaven‘ to understand how a gay character should be crafted.
For a country that still suffers from varying degrees of homophobia, Student of the Year sets up a bad precedent. And this is happening under the nose of an established director who’s GAY!
One criticism Karan Johar’s films constantly receive is that they’re not realistic enough. From fantastical sets to gorgeous costumes, even the poor are rich in his films. So, maybe the reason for all his bad gay characters lie in his inability to grasp realism. But I don’t want a cop-out from Karan Johar. I just want better characters. Is that too much to ask from a gay director with unlimited resources? You tell me.