BOTTOM LINE: Lacks Edge Just Like The Roar Of A Toothless Tiger
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Action Drama|
What Is the Story About?
Class Of 83 is set in the backdrop of the eighties, when Mumbai was Bombay, and the city was a tinderbox of fragile peace brokered between warring gangs by corrupt politicians and morally depraved police chiefs. It bases its narrative on the real-life encounter killings of Bombay, the handiwork of a handful of determined police officers – dubbed encounter specialists – to rid the city streets of gangster vermin.
Class of 83 is a gritty take on the nexus between the unholy trinity of politicians, criminals and the police. One stout-hearted cop Dean Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol) dares to stand up to the trinity. He is famous for his encounters, and goes after the kingpin Kalsekar (Adesh Bharadwaj) with relentless zeal. He is rewarded for his temerity by CM Manohar Patkar (Anup Soni) by getting shunted out to the Nasik Police Academy as punishment posting.
Even at Nasik, the spark within him to stem the rot in the law machinery of Mumbai refuses to die. As Dean of the Police Academy, he grooms five outliers to carry on his work of ridding Bombay of the Kalsekar gang. The five outliers are cadets who refuse to toe the line, for which they are on the verge of being rusticated.
Once absorbed into the Bombay police force, the five, Pramod Shukla (Bhupendra Jadawat), Vishnu Varde (Hitesh Bhojraj), Aslam Khan (Sameer Paranjape), Lakshman Jadhav (Ninad Mahajani) and Janardan Surve (Prithvik Pratap), form an unbeatable team of sharp-shooters, until they are threatened to be consumed by the very thing they set out to eliminate.
Bobby Deol has given a subtle, smouldering performance as Dean Vijay Singh. The greying look suits him marvellously, lending him a distinguished aura and a gravitas that is missing from his standard Bollywood outings. He seems to have discovered his mojo with Class Of 83, delivering a finely restrained performance. Anup Soni puts in an assured portrayal of the wily, corrupt politician blessed with the gift of the gab.
The five newcomers, Bhupendra Jadawat, Sameer Paranjape, Ninad Mahajani, Prithvik Pratap and Hitesh Bhojraj, prove their casting right, lending credence to their roles of young, trigger-happy law enforcers. Vishwajeet Pradhan, as another erstwhile cop shunted to the police academy as instructor, shines in the brief role. Joy Sengupta, as DGP Raghav Desai, Vijay Singh’s colleague in the police form, is passable.
Class Of 83 wants to be a relentless, unyielding, slow burn delineation of the crime scene of eighties Bombay and the police give-back — a singularly thrilling proposition, by any measure. Of course, countless movies and series have ventured into the much-charted waters of Bombay’s depraved underbelly. Yet, there’s always space for more, provided it is done right and adds a novel perspective and nuance to the genre. Class Of 83 is certainly not that movie. It is an unremarkable telling of a tale that has the potential to become timeless when in the right hands – think Parinda, Vastav, Satya, et al.
Based on S. Hussain Zaidi’s book, The Class of ’83: The Punishers Of Mumbai Police, Class Of 83 falls short in gall and gumption. While the premise is gritty, the execution is not. Not a single scene in the 1 hour 38 minute movie can even remotely be described as edge of the seat, moving or affecting. Performances maketh a movie, no doubt, but they do not maketh the movie epic. And that’s where Class Of 83 falters. Despite having its heart and passion in the right place, the end product comes across as a hastily-thrown-together concoction of good performances, some great dialogues, and a premise that is always up for enrichment.
It’s not the direction by Atul Sabharwal that is to blame. It is the screenplay by Abhijeet Deshpande (Shootout at Wadala) that lacks teeth. The end is laughably tame. A gangster who’s accorded an aura of revered fear, wily deviousness and wicked notoriety right through the movie capitulates so tamely in the finale, it’s not even funny.
Class of 83 does get the attention to detail right, with regards to the throwback to the early eighties. From film posters to the abandoned shells of erstwhile cotton mills to proliferation of Ambassador cars on the roads, one might feel they’ve been transported into another, bygone era.
All said and done, Class Of 83 will only be remembered for Bobby Deol’s commendable revival act, if for anything at all.
Music and Other Departments?
The technical aspects are what Class Of 83 gets eminently right. The editing by Nitin Baid and Manas Mittal is exquisite. Not a speck of film has been wasted in the entire movie.
The camerawork by Mario Poljac is another standout element of Class Of 83. The evocative lighting and scene structuring reaffirm the eighties feel, lending a wistful quality to the narrative.
Lastly, Viju Shah’s background score is soft, subtle and refined in most places, even as it rises to a heady tempo in crucial bits.
Performances of Bobby Deol and the five newcomers
The technical aspects – sound, editing and cinematography
A few memorable dialogues
Screenplay lacks teeth
Not gritty enough to be memorable
The end is abominable
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes, to some extent
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, as a one-time watch
Review by Binged Bureau
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