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 doesn’t capitalise on the potential moments it creates in the first 15-20 minutes.
Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), a sharp ex-Mumbai cop, has been sent as the dean of the police academy in Nashik on punishment posting, but as they say, you can’t restrict an idea, so he felicitates a group of young police trainees to tackle the Mumbai underworld of the ‘80s by going out of the way. His four trainees—played by Bhupendra Jadawat, Hitesh Bhojraj, Sameer Paranjape and Ninad Mahajani—soon adopt the unconventional methods to trap criminals, but there is a chance that they might lose their way.
It seems like a story which might have a lot of anecdotal details, and that might have been a good read, but it doesn’t transform on the screen with equal effect.
It follows the traditional template of police films in Hindi, which means there will be a couple of audacious officers who would break the rules to ensure law and order. There will also be a senior who would be easy to manipulate, and there will be a mentor who would come back to rule the roost. Nothing wrong in following formula, but it takes away the sheen when such police stories lack a sense of urgency.
Also, the director seems to be in two minds about which events to retain in the film and that makes the transitions too fast, without establishing an emotional contact. The audience doesn’t get much invested in the heroics of the lead cast.
For a 98-minute film, the dean probably takes a little longer to take the centre-stage. Then the sub-plots, especially intra-group conflicts and personal politics of the crew members, don’t get much prominence. It hampers the heightening of drama.
A brooding Bobby Deol is a pleasant surprise as it’s an age-appropriate role, and with his glasses and untucked shirt, he looks different than the police officers we are used to seeing in mainstream Hindi films, but he doesn’t get enough support from either the script or supporting cast.
With dimly-lit streets and ambassador cars, the look of the film reminds of Bombay without its super-crowded streets and ominous dockyards, but Class of ’83 doesn’t rise above this. The excitement of an underworld versus police story is not there.
The film is streaming on Netflix.