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Student of the Year heroes have failed

DOWNFALL OF VARUN DHAWAN AND SIDHARTH MALHOTRA

Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan in Student of the Year

By: Asjad Nazir

IT MAY have been a massively overrated film that didn’t clock up the expected blockbuster numbers at the box office, but the 2012 film, Student of the Year, was a solid launch pad for its three debut stars.

While Alia Bhatt has gone on to become the most successful young actress of her generation, the same can definitely not be said about her co-stars, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra.

As Malhotra clocks up another colossal failure with his new film Yodha, it’s worth looking at the downward spiral of the two lead actors who have starred in far more failures than successes, despite getting multiple opportunities.

Dhawan scored his successes, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Badrinath Ki Dulhania, with leading lady Bhatt. Outside of that, most of his films have been epic box-office disasters, including ones where he was a part of a big star cast, such as Dilwale and Kalank. He tried to reinvent himself as a comic actor, but found himself at the centre of awful films such as Coolie No 1 and Judwaa 2, which flopped despite being extensions of previous hits.

Dhawan in Baby John

He has fared no better as a romantic hero, and this was spectacularly illustrated by the unbelievably bad 2023 film, Bawaal. Having tried everything from solo-hero films to multi-starrers, the baby-faced actor has been horribly exposed as not being leading man material. Dhawan is now relying heavily on his next film, Baby John, which is the remake of the successful 2016 Tamil action entertainer, Therii, and sees him star opposite popular south Indian actress, Keerthy Suresh. The pint-sized actor will struggle to convince audiences that he is action hero material, despite the genre being massively popular right now. If this film also fails, then surely it is now coming to an end for an actor who failed to capitalise on several gold-plated opportunities.

There were higher hopes for dashing actor Malhotra, who looked a lot more like a Bollywood hero. But terrible choices and being unable to find his niche have derailed his career. After his high-profile debut, Malhotra had a solid showing with his next two films in 2014, Hasee Toh Phasee and Ek Villain.

The 2016 drama, Kapoor & Sons, although not a hit, received critical acclaim. But outside of that, Malhotra found himself in absolute stinkers like Baar Baar Dekho, A Gentleman, Jabariya Jodi, Marjaavaan and Thank God. Shershaah received critical acclaim, but was dumped straight to a streaming site, as was his last film, Mission Majnu, because he couldn’t pull in cinema audiences. This was proven again with his newly released film, Yodha. The action thriller was also supposed to be flushed down a streaming site like his recent movies, but was released in cinemas.

On a streaming site, no one knows the actual viewing figures, which means failure can be covered up. But that is not the case in cinemas, where the box office is transparent. Not surprisingly, there was no interest in Yodha, despite the patriotic fervour sweeping across India. The flop film shows that Malhotra, like Dhawan, is not leading-man material.

Malhotra in Yodha

Meanwhile, Bhatt has starred in huge blockbusters in Bollywood, made her debut in Hollywood, started multiple businesses, turned producer, and become a global brand. She is also one half of a power couple with Alist superstar Ranbir Kapoor and has producers lining up to sign her.

With Deepika Padukone taking a break to have a baby, Bhatt has become the undisputed queen of Bollywood. In stark contrast, her Student of the Year leading men have become imposters, masquerading as leading men in Hindi cinema, who must surely be shown the exit door.

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