Class of ’83 movie review: Bobby Deol is relegated to the shadows in an extremely derivative cop movie
A cop scorned by a corrupt system, Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), who’s also dealing with the loss of his beloved wife, is assigned a punishment posting as the dean of a police academy in Nashik, Maharashtra. He handpicks five students in his first batch, forming the bottom rung of the class, to bend the system and settle old scores, only to re-enter the scene and try and stop them when they take things too far.
Bollywood has never been short of good cop characters be it in the highly commercial mould like Singham, Dabangg or Simmba or of the gritty kind a la Sarfarosh, Zanjeer, Khakee or Drohkaal. Recent web series like Paatal Lok and Sacred Games, too, have thrown up indelible cops of the latter variety. Now, Netflix’s latest web movie, Class of ’83, starring Bobby Deol and produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment comes along, attempting the same formula, but emulates the previous khakee characters so much, minus any of the raw and rugged realism that made them so relatable, that it ends up being but a derivate pale shadow of them.
A cop scorned by a corrupt system, Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), who’s also dealing with the loss of his beloved wife, is assigned a punishment posting as the dean of a police academy in Nashik, Maharashtra. He handpicks five students in his first batch, forming the bottom rung of the class, to bend the system and settle old scores, only to re-enter the scene and try and stop them when they take things too far. Also Read – Did you know that Bobby Deol was not the first choice for Class of ’83? [Exclusive]
If there’s one thing that makes Netflix’s Class of ’83 barely watchable, it’s the performances. Bobby Deol simply chews the scenery despite his limited screen time, giving the entire show a lift while his handpicked encounter specialists, Hitesh Bhojraj, Sameer Paranjape, Ninad Mahajani, Prithvik Pratap and Bhupendra Jadawat, make the best of the spotlight given to them, and Anup Soni and Joy Sengupta also lend good backup in supporting roles. Mario Poljac’s cinematography is another highlight, evoking major nostalgia for Bombay (not Mumbai) while Manas Mittal’s cuts keep things moving at a nice pace. It’s also a pleasure to hear Viju Shah (Tridev, Vishwatma, Mohra, Gupt) return to composing music and not having lost any of his touch, delivering a kick-ass background score.
Having not read Hussain Zaidi’s book on which Class of 83 is based, I can only assume that either it’s one of those written works that make for a good read, but not suited for a visual medium, or screenwriter Abhijeet Deshpande did a very sloppy job of adapting his book. Add to that Atul Sabharwal’s pedestrian, unimaginative direction and you’ve got a bunch of cops desperately endeavouring to be gritty and hardcore with Sabharwal and Deshpande forgetting that it’s a hard-hitting script that attributes such qualities to characters and not the other way around. It’s also inexplicable how derivative the film is, picking bits and pieces from every done-to-death scenario present in the filmy police handbook. In short, the writing and direction severely let down the performances and technical aspects.