Class of ’83
Cast: Bobby Deol, Bhupendra Jadawat, Hitesh Bhojraj, Sameer Paranjape
Director: Atul Sabharwal
Based on S Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘The Class of ’83’ and adapted by Abhijeet Deshpande, director Atul Sabharwal’s Class of ’83 does not take advantage of the potential moments it creates in the first 15-20 minutes.
Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), a sharp ex-cop from Mumbai, has been sent as dean of the police academy in Nashik to post punishment, but as they say, you can’t limit an idea, so he congratulates a group of young police trainees to tackle the Mumbai underworld of the 80s by getting out of the way. His four interns – played by Bhupendra Jadawat, Hitesh Bhojraj, Sameer Paranjape and Ninad Mahajani – soon adopt the unconventional methods of trapping criminals, only to lose their way.
It seems like a story that has a lot of anecdotal detail, and that might have been a good read, but it doesn’t change with the same effect on the screen.
It follows the traditional pattern of police movies in Hindi, which means that there will be some daring cops breaking the rules to ensure public order. There will also be a senior who is easy to manipulate, and there will be a mentor who will come back to take charge. Nothing wrong with following the formula, but it takes the shine off when such police stories lack a sense of urgency.
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Also, the director seems to have doubts about which events in the film should be retained and that makes the transitions too fast, without establishing an emotional contact. The audience is not much invested in the heroism of the protagonist.
For a 98-minute film, it probably takes a little longer for the dean to take center stage. Then the subplots, especially the conflicts within the group and the personal politics of the crew members, don’t get much attention. It hinders the heightening of the drama.
A somber Bobby Deol is a pleasant surprise, as it’s an age-appropriate role, and with his glasses and off-the-shoulder shirt, he looks different from the cops we’re used to seeing in mainstream Hindi movies, but he doesn’t get enough support from either the script or the supporting cast.
With dimly lit streets and ambassadorial cars, the film is reminiscent of Bombay without its super-crowded streets and ominous dockyards, but Class of ’83 is no exception. The excitement of an underworld versus police story is not there.
The film will be streamed on Netflix.