Super Cassettes Industries Ltd.’s Yaariyan (UA) is the story of friendship, love, competition and compassion. Lakshya (Himansh Kohli), Neil (Devanshu Sharma), Jenny (Serah Singh), Saloni (Rakul Preet Singh), Jiya (Nicole Faria) and Pardi (Shreyas Pardiwala) study in St. Joseph’s College and are very close friends. Lakshya lusts for Jenny, which gets him into trouble with the college principal (Gulshan Grover). Things come to such a point that many students are about to be asked to leave college for bad behaviour. But, all of a sudden, the principal asks a group of five students – Lakshya, Saloni, Neil, Pardi and Jiya – to instead go to Australia to compete with a college team there in various sports and other activities. If the Indian team wins, the Australians would spare the land on which the college stands. Otherwise, the building housing the college girls’ hostel would have to give way to a hotel and casino.
The Indian team reaches Australia but is defeated by the Australian team because Saloni messes up in the motorcycle race as she is devastated by the death of Lakshya’s close friend, Debu (Jatin Suri), due to a racial discrimination attack by locals in Australia. The second part of the competition is to be held in India after a while. The Indian team is gearing up for the competition. Meanwhile, Lakshya and Saloni have fallen in love with one another. A point comes when cracks develop in the Indian team. Lakshya also develops a fondness for Janet (Evelyn Sharma; who is from Australia) leading to resentment in the Indian team.
What happens thereafter? Does the Indian team win or are the Australians victorious? Does Lakshya love Saloni or Janet?
Divya Khosla Kumar’s story appears to be merely an assemblage of scenes from past hit films. There are scenes which are heavily inspired by Lagaan, Main Hoon Na, Student Of The Year and several other films. No character is justified well enough to create an impact. The screenplay, written by Sanjeev Datta and Divya Khosla Kumar, is also one of convenience and quite juvenile. The audience is often left wondering why things are happening the way they are happening. For instance, the principal, who is livid at the bad behaviour of the students, asks the very students who had angered him, to represent his college in Australia! And no effort has been made to even show why he has reposed his faith in such students. In India, the last competition – of mountain-climbing – looks like a joke because the death-defying sport is made to look like kid’s play. The misunderstandings between friends, and between lovers are clichéd, to say the least. The conflict in the drama looks contrived. Also, everything is so exaggerated that it looks overdone. For instance, in today’s age and time of pre-marital sex, Lakshya makes such a scene about his first kiss that it actually looks out of place. Even that could’ve worked if the characters were shown as innocent, but that is not so. As a result of a poorly written story and screenplay, the drama fails to engage the audience. The romance does not gladden the heart, the emotions more often than not fail to move the audience and, unfortunately, even the comedy and light banter among the young college friends fail to entertain or engage the viewers. However, the songs are delightful! Each song is super-hit and that to a large extent makes up for the lack of entertaining content. Sanjeev Datta’s dialogues are routine and lack the youthfulness of a college drama.
Performances are mediocre. A word here about the costumes of the youngsters – they leave a lot to be desired. Himansh Kohli makes an ordinary debut. Rakul Preet Singh is okay in her debut attempt. Nicole Faria looks sexy but gets hardly any scope to act in her maiden attempt. Devanshu Sharma disappoints in his debut as Neil. Shreyas Pardiwala, as Pardi, is dull in a comic role. Jatin Suri performs ably as Debu. Gulshan Grover does a fairly good job as the college principal. Deepti Naval is natural to the core as Debu’s mother. Smita Jayakar has her moments in the role of Lakshya’s widowed mother. Serah Singh (as Jenny) and Evelyn Sharma (as Janet) don’t impress much. Sayali Bhagat (as Nikki), Vedish (as Pandey), Kalpana Shah (as Radhika), Ashish Bhatia (as Jenny’s boyfriend), Hemant Pandey (as Saloni’s father), Vikas Verma (as Mike), J. Brandon Hill (as Rockfeller) and the rest pass muster.
Debutante Divya Khosla Kumar’s direction leaves something to be desired. Music, as mentioned above, is super-hit. Pritam, Honey Singh, Arko and Mithoon have composed songs which are absolute chartbusters. ‘Paani paani’ (by Honey Singh) is already a rage in the party and disco circuit. ‘ABCD’, ‘Maa’ and ‘Love me thoda’ (all by Pritam), ‘Allah vaariyan’ and ‘Zor lagaa ke’ (both by Arko) and ‘Baarish’ (by Mithoon) are all extraordinary songs. In fact, the music is the best part of the film. Lyrics (by Irshad Kamil, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Mithoon, Honey Singh and Arko) go fabulously well with the mood of the songs. Choreography (Divya Khosla Kumar, Longines Fernandes, Prasanna Sujit and Chirag Zaveri) is nice but could’ve been far better if the actors were good dancers. Raju Singh’s background music needed to be more impactful. Sameer Arya’s cinematography is okay. The Sikkim outdoor locales are eye-catching. Action scenes (Mehmood Bakshi and Grant Hulley) are functional. Saloni Dhatrak’s sets are fair. Arif Sheikh’s editing is average.
On the whole, Yaariyan has ordinary entertainment value but its super-hit music is its trump card. The film will, therefore, appeal to the youth and prove to be a plus fare. Its superb opening is a big plus point.