BOTTOM LINEA sexually charged teen drama that misfires
|Platform: AltBalaji||Genre: Drama|
What Is the Story About?De Nobili High School, one of the topmost educational institutions in an Indian metropolis, often finds itself in an awkward spot, thanks to the travails of its notorious students who pass out every year. The ‘Class of 2020’ promises to be no different. The characters come with peculiarities – the list includes the sex-maniac Ibrahim, the status-conscious Ranchi, the innocent Hardik who’s desperate for love, the feisty Alia who finds it hard to straddle between her troubled home and school, an ever-hungry Toto, the digital star Ronit, a perennially disturbed Priyanka and the gullible Zoey. Catfights, breakups, hook-ups, betrayal and commitment issues are commonplace in this trippy tale that promises to take you on a wild ride.
Performances?This isn’t a series you would remember for its performances though Rohan Mehra impresses with his casual charm. Playing an unapologetic, non-committal teenager with a weakness for women, he goes about his role with the right amount of nonchalance. Amid a bunch of haughty characters, it’s Alam Khan as Toto who brings an easy-going touch to his act – not all of his comical punches land well, but at least, he makes a genuine effort. Sushant Tanwar as a boy who’s unlucky with women fits the part – appearing naïve and not street smart enough to handle challenges that come his way. Mazhar Khan, Jatin Suri, Joyita Chatterjee, Chetna Pande come up with one-note performances in roles that hardly have any meat in them. Music and other departments: Like the characters in the series and their intentions, the music is so much on-the-face and strangles you with its over-the-top tone. Random words are thrown into the soundtrack – like ‘b**ch’, totla, drama – to add to the woes. The background score seems to be a work done in a hurry with no element of consistency. The cinematographer and the art director try hard to mask the production limitations with their flashy use of colours in the backdrops. Subtlety is a universe that’s clearly light-years away. The dialogues, expectedly are more about genitalia than love.
AnalysisBefore we elaborate on why Class of 2020 may not be your best bet for this weekend, let’s discuss the aspects that work in its favour. Unlike most college dramas in the webspace that find creepy excuses to force a sexual angle into the story, Class of 2020 isn’t pretentious about what it wants to be – a college drama about a bunch of perennially horny teenagers. Ibrahim stands by the famous three-word-code while dealing with the women in his life – ‘Pata, Lagaa, Hataa’ (flirt, make love and ditch them) – and he isn’t alone. A host of other characters in the series too abide by the mantra. It’s relieving to see the youngsters, despite all their flaws, being unabashed about their choices. Most men and women are two-timing their partners at the same time and the worth of a relationship is decided by how good a man is on the bed. The students are cranky, fidgety, unpredictable and non-committal – as most teenagers tend to be. Academic ambition is the last thing on their mind – they are too busy engaging themselves in scandalous relationships. The characters either have problematic parents, dysfunctional families or sometimes both. Class of 2020 is enjoyable as long it’s carefree about its tone and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a show where one of its initial episodes see a father and son have a hearty laugh about their obsession for sex. The son even tries to use an operation theatre in his dad’s hospital to make love to a woman. But, beyond a point, it takes up too many issues that punch above the weight of the narrative – say teenage pregnancy, suicide, domestic abuse, a weird subplot about an HIV positive woman who goes onto sleep around with men as an act of revenge. The show could have done a lot more than shaping the characters of the parents as a bunch of caricatures. Most of the elders are dealing with their own set of issues and appear to inflict their frustration upon their wards. A divorced mother forces her daughter into a series of relationships for societal validation. There’s a single mother who has married another man and doesn’t care for her first son anymore. Ranchi and Priyanka need to deal with parents who have issues with their daughters’ newfound independence. The shifts between comedy and melodrama are rather drastic. The writers haven’t made any specific efforts to make the characters relatable, though a few of the issues they face, strike a chord. Class of 2020 is a screechy, fantasy world that functions more like a wannabe version of Netflix American teen dramas. These are kids seemingly unaware of the privileged lives they lead, waiting for opportunities to get laid, conveniently altering their stance with time. Had it stuck to its sole objective of being a sex-comedy and toned down its drama, Class of 2020 would have been fairly enjoyable.
Highlights?The unpretentious intentions of the characters, The free-spirited beginning
Drawbacks?The melodrama and inconsistent narrative tone, No relatability, conviction in the characterisation
Did I Enjoy It?No
Will You Recommend It?No
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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