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'Yaariyan' Review: Mind-numbing mishmash

SUPARNA SHARMA
Published Jan 12, 2014, 3:46 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 5:58 am IST
'Yaariyan' is a mind-numbing mishmash of its fatuous predecessors — music videos pretending to be films

Cast: Himansh Kohli, Serah Singh, Nicole Faria, Dev Sharma, Rakul Preet, Evelyn Sharma, Shreyas Pardiwala, Deepti Naval, Gulshan Grover
Director: Divya Khosla Kumar
Rating: Truly Terrible

For about 14 months I had been sitting pretty, convinced that nothing could be more offensive than Karan Johar’s 'Student of the Year'. And then along came 'Yaariyan'.

 

That this ghastly film has been written and directed by a woman, T-Series bahu Mrs Divya Khosla Kumar, who even makes an appearance in the end, next to some inanity she thought of about motherhood and film direction, only made this rotten flick even more annoying.

It’s bad enough that Mrs Kumar used her husband’s money to torture us with her stupendous stupidity. That she has the gall to cull favour by peddling her gender, motherhood and being a film director — all Herculean tasks, apparently, accomplished simultaneously — made me have seriously violent thoughts.

'Yaariyan' is a mind-numbing mishmash of its fatuous predecessors — music videos pretending to be films. Set in sham educational institutions, these entities are inspired from Archie Comics and the worst of Hollywood white trash and contain all of the following:

  • A hero who chases short skirts and cradles some vague angst about father, in this case about a dead, gallant sipahi and hardworking but poor mother
  • One bimbette who only carries make up, pocket-size mammals and an inviting spout to class
  • One seedhi-saadhi girl-next-door, i.e. a bhenji with plaits
  • One yaaron-ka-yaar, i.e. a loser who eventually lands a hot babe either out of pity or lack of hygienic optionsA flaming gay character who has an affinity for feather boas
  • One horny female teacher
  • Strict warden of the girls hostel despite whom boys and booze waft in and out at will
  • A boys’ dorm where Playboy is read wearing towels
  • One scene where boys get to wear bras and drop ripe, round fruits
  • One challenge followed by a slight that will set right all that is wrong with the imbecile hero and his ilk

'Yaariyan' is set in a college in Sikkim where we are concerned with five students — Lakshay, Jiya, Saloni, Neil and Pardy. They are the dregs of this college and this can be gauged from the fact that though they offer each other spiked cranberry juice, given their collective IQ they won’t be able to pick out cranberry in a line-up of a banana, bongo, mongoose and one red cranberry. They will beg to phone a friend.

The school’s principal (Gulshan Grover) is fed-up with their shenanigans, all a result of what Pardy calls “hormonal locha”, and is planning to rusticate them. But then an Australian intervenes and prolongs our laceration.

Sikkim royal family, which owns the land on which the girl’s hostel is built, has sold it to an Australian, one Rockefeller, who has decided to demolish it and build a hotel and a casino. The principal thinks this is a bad idea and assigns the college’s five losers the task of saving the college’s zameen and izzat.

A five-event competition between the Australian and Indian students — singing, chess, cycling, rock climbing and a cross-country race — will decide who stays, who goes.

You can guess what happens eventually — it’ll be two-all till Bharat Mata, desh ki izzat, Ma ka pyaar and Gandhiji irritate the hero’s comatose conscience to life. But you can’t even begin to imagine the things we are subjected to en route: Songs and dances with gyrating female bodies, an innocent boy becomes a victim of Australian racism, horny teachers falling over each other, girls in tank-tops behaving like headless chickens in severe heat, hero snogging Australian girl while discovering bhenji girl’s inner beauty... and many more torturous events till the hero gets to kiss the heroine. Mind you, it’s not a French kiss. It’s more like a hungry dog chewing a bone.

Mrs Kumar seems to have created 'Yaariyan' to spite the writers of Better to Die Than Use These Bollywood Cliches book. Her Sikkim has less soul than the Sikkim Tourism calendar and her hero and heroine have the talent and teeth that would make them shine in Ponds cold cream ads. But Mrs Kumar scores when it comes to outdoing men in misogyny. All the girls in 'Yaariyan' are a scrambled jigsaw of red lips, breasts and a midriff. So vacuous, so empty are her girls that it’s a miracle they don’t cave-in.

Mrs Kumar’s needlessly convoluted screenplay seeks to deliver the message that no matter how lazy, uncouth, corrupt or mercenary a Bharatiya may be, once his desh ki izzat is threatened, or when an innocent Bharatiya is killed, hamare andar ka Superman Deshbhakt comes to life. Always.

Unleashing this mythical, patriotic spirit is not unique to our cinema. Many countries — especially the ones that are schizophrenic and hypocritical — need these fables. India and America, for sure. And of course popular cinema exploits this need. But if you must reassure Indians that deep inside they are all god-like creatures, then either have the talent to spin a palatable yarn, or keep it really, really short. If 'Yaariyan' had the exact length of the Airtel ad, it may have been bearable.

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