Class Review: What It’s About Three high school teenagers are transferred to a top-class, exclusive institute as a PR technicians after their old school burns down in a massive fire. The rich and smart new school kids take bullying three newbies as a job. The battle of the haves and have-nots begins in this hauntingly dark show.
Class Review: What Works
Class division, caste discrimination and exploitation of the have-nots are the three most used plots since the OTT revolution took off in India. Many filmmakers have exposed his vile nature and tried to bring a real reflection of it all (Paatal Lok, Sacred Games and others). With his campy adaptation of the Spanish drama Elite, Ashim Ahluwalia creates a world so marinated and obsessed with an eccentricity that when strangers enter their shallowly decorated rooms, they know nothing else but to make life hell.
In Class, which is still being talked about as an adaptation of the hit Spanish show, Ahluwalia is not just blindly remaking the story of the original in Hindi, but rather is merely borrowing the plot. If you look at the surface and try to read between the lines, the show is an in-depth exploration of an ecosystem that harbors two different zones but favours only one mixed in the Indian environment. The other must leave on the remains of those who have it all and not complain or even try to enter their domain.
So when three teenagers from a neighbouring slum enter a school of elite children from families of socialites, builders and high-profile celebrities, they are greeted with the utmost resistance. Even Three Breaths is an attack on rich kids who are obnoxious and so far from reality that you can’t even relate to them, but they think their bubbles are the ultimate reality.
Ashim Ahluwalia and his team of writers (not including a single woman) shaped Class as a critique of people who are blinded by their wealth and condemned by their actions. They address the caste divide without hiding behind any wall. When a boy named Dheeraj ‘Valmiki’ introduces himself, the policeman immediately calls him a lower caste and says ‘dikhta to nahi hain’. A sudden reminder that the conditioning of many minds doesn’t even allow them to think that someone from the have-nots can look good by “elite standards”. Likewise, the Muslim girl Saba goes to school on her first day wearing a hijab, hiding that she belongs to Kashmir. The director advises her not to cover her head.
In fact, Ashim never lets his ideology overpower the story he wants to tell. He cleverly makes Dheeraj, played by Piyush Khati, our eyes in this world. They ride their bikes to school while they get rich speeding in their luxury cars. The real drama begins when the worlds of the haves and have-nots collide and the boundaries blur. Everyone eventually becomes a monster in their abilities, there is gray in every person and when the time is right it will come out. Bizarre and wild decisions are made, life is lost, and you see the level of eccentricity it can go to.
In the midst of it all, Ashim also lets love blossom in a unique way. It does not let the presence of a very unconventional love story act as a ray of light in the darkness. It takes darkness with it. A Muslim boy (Chintan) who sells drugs to earn big money and escape his current condition falls in love with a rich schoolboy (Chayan) who is not only withdrawn but even buried under peer pressure. There is poetry in the way they are displayed together. Their love is doomed, but that doesn’t stop them from stealing the moments they can. Every time they are on screen the show soars and you have to root for them. Tubby’s original music and Aditya N & Nayantara Bhatkal’s beautiful songs also go a long way.
The class contains a lot of intricate layers where it tries to show the youth revolting and demanding their rights in society. The superficiality of people with power. But above all, Ashim Ahluwalia tries to show how funny they really are, but condones such evil intentions. He almost pretends to be rich, but does not make light of their evil.
Class Review: Star Performance
Class is blessed to have one of the best casting coupes in recent memory. Netflix and the entire production team should be celebrated just for investing in 11 new faces without a star face to add value. And kudos to the actors for understanding the opportunity that presented itself and giving it their best shot.
Anjali Sivaraman is a revelation in the show. For a character who initially mixes rich and poor, he has a very complex character on hand. The actor is so effortless in playing a role so complex that you don’t see an iota of fear anywhere. Next comes the dreamy Chintan Rachchh playing Faruq who manages to become almost a mystery in the show. For the most part, she enters Dhruv’s life as the ghost he has always longed for. The fact that he’s a poet in real life brings a lot of melancholy to his presence on the show and even elevates Chayan Chopra’s performance, which is impressive on its own as well.
Talking about impressive performance, Piyush Khati as Dheeraj is such a surprisingly good performance. Technically, we, the audience, are this circus. They have to go from being confused to later understanding this game and also get their hands dirty with its mud. The actor can pull off some of the most intense scenes. There is also intensity in Ayesha Kang’s performance. Especially in the scene where Yashika, who she plays, is crying but doesn’t let her makeup ruin it. She opens her phone and tries to click a selfie so that her tears stop and she can put on a facade, such a brilliant scene.
Zeyn Shaw as Veer is given a complex role and there are a number of his performances. With strong support from Madhyama Segal’s Saba, together they create such an interesting dynamic that I’m excited to see where they go if there’s a season 2. In the solo space, Madhyama does a wonderful job of playing a role that needs to be contained and never really crack.
Moses Kaul, Naina Bhan and Cwaayal Singh create the most bizarre dynamic in this show and are so convincing and good at it that you even fall for it. Gurfateh Pirzada joins them all and grows as an actor. He is the voice of the marginalized and even goes the wrong way to give them justice.
Class overview: What doesn’t work
At certain turns, the show asks the viewer to suspend disbelief too much. As if we understand that the weird nature of the show when it goes to the houses of the rich is to fake it and show us the difference. But at certain moments it feels like too much.
Class Overview: Last Words
The class is ridiculously dark but rewards its audience for inv