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How have Karan Johar's 'Students of the Year' fared since their debuts


Since their debut in the high-profile Karan Johar film, Student of the Year, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan have gone from being novices to established talents in a mercurial industry. 

Shriram Iyengar

In a recent interview, Karan Johar said, "We're going through a crisis. There really are those many actors who are in trade parlance are viable, saleable. It is very limiting, we have very few movie stars and I hope the country starts loving more and more stars very soon." It might have been a statement of humility, but Johar has forgotten the fact that it was his film, Student of the Year (2013), that launched three 'stars' in Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, and Sidharth Malhotra. 

Making their debut in a big-budget romantic musical, produced by Dharma Productions, is never easy for any actor. Bhatt, Dhawan, and Malhotra stood true to the test, and passed with flying colours. In their first film, the trio displayed charm, skill, and the right balance of cool. The film managed to bring Johar back to the top of the box office, with a cool Rs85 crore gross earnings. 

If Student of the Year confirmed the potential in the trio, it was their choice of roles after the film that established them as stars. Since graduating from Johar's film, Bhatt, Dhawan and Malhotra have fared quite well in the industry. In fact, the scorecard of the trio is uncannily similar. Both, Bhatt and Dhawan, have managed to sign up for exactly one flop over a duration of seven films. Malhotra, on the other hand, has had just one more debacle in the recent, Baar Baar Dekho (2016).

Bhatt, undoubtedly, remains the most successful graduate of Johar's film. The actress' talent was never in question, but what has surprised critics is her choice of roles. Right after SOTY, Bhatt signed on Imtiaz Ali's sensitive Highway(2014). It was a sign of things to come, as Bhatt has chosen a diverse range of films that emphasise her natural acting talent. 2 States (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (2014) and Kapoor & Sons (2014) proved to be hits. Udta Punjab (2015) ran into a lot of controversy, but Bhatt's credibility as an actor emerged stronger as a result. The only flop in her resume is her turn as an insomniac in Vikas Bahl's Shandaar (2015). 2016 looks promising with Bhatt having signed on to star alongside Shah Rukh Khan in Gauri Shinde's Dear Zindagi (2016) as well as Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, with Dhawan. 

Alia Bhatt in Udta Punjab (2016)

While Bhatt has attracted praise for her acting talent, it is Dhawan who has emerged as a bona fide commercial star. He followed up SOTY with a semi-hit in Main Tera Hero (2014) that used up his complete potential as a new age Govinda-Hrithik Roshan cloned into one. While Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya (2014) notched up another commercial hit for Dhawan, it was Sriram Raghavan's Badlapur (2015) that changed the perception of critics towards this young actor. Pitched against the acting powerhouse of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Dhawan ditched his youthful charm and exuberance to take on the persona of an obsessive, vengeful killer. The film went on to be a hit and earned Dhawan a nomination for the Best Actor Filmfare. 2015 was a good year for Dhawan as he delivered another superhit alongside Prabhu Deva in ABCD2. Although Dilwale (2015) took the sheen off a successful year, it has not dulled his box-office capabilities. 2016 has begun on a decent note with Dhawan's turn as a buddy cop alongside John Abraham in Dishoom proving to be a hit. He is now set to reprise his role as the loser lover boy with Alia Bhatt in Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2016). 

Varun Dhawan in Badlapur (2015)

Malhotra might feel a little peeved at the results of his friends. The actor has just recently felt the after effects of the debacle of Baar Baar Dekho (2016). The big budget time travel movie failed to travel far at the box-office, effectively ending his flopless run at the counters. The actor has had a mixed bag performance with Ek Villain (2014), and Kapoor & Sons (2016) proving the only hits, while Hasee Toh Phasee (2014) was an average grosser. Meanwhile, the flop of Baar Baar Dekho is Malhotra's second dud after the failure of the Hindi remake of Warriors, Brothers (2015). 

Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt in Kapoor & Sons (2015)

Considering their short careers, the consistency of these three stars has been admirable. In comparison to the new generation of actors like Tiger Shroff, Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, or Parineeti Chopra, these three manage to stand head and shoulders above. The chemistry with each other has also proved to be a hit. While Dhawan and Bhatt combined brilliantly in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, Malhotra and Bhatt matched up in chemistry in Kapoor & Sons. Their ability to manage offbeat films like Highway, Ek Villain, or Badlapur ensures that they have caught the critics' attention and respect as much as those of the box-office accountants. It is this intelligent choice of roles that promises better things for them in the future. 

Even as Johar plans to get into the production of the sequel to his Student of the Year, he might relax in the knowledge that he has indeed succeeded in unearthing new stars to front a whole new generation of Hindi cinema.