BOTTOM LINE: Only a Few Thrills in This Poor Follow-Up
|Platform: ZEE5||Genre: Drama|
Skin and swear: Contains several lovemaking sequences and instances of strong language
What Is the Story About?
Anushka, the counsellor at Jefferson High School, who had a past with a student Aarav, is murdered under mysterious circumstances. Aarav, yet to come to terms with her mother’s death and his father’s murky past, gets back to school in a bid to usher in normalcy. His ex Kiara tries to help him heal through the tricky phase. Harry’s misadventures put his friend Maddy in a spot – an incident that would haunt him time and again. A student Parnamitra’s revelation about her school mate in reference to a doping charge results in the latter’s death. Sehmat and Misha haven’t committed themselves to each other yet, but they are in a spot of bother when an instinctive reaction leads to a mishap. Officer Rene is leaving no stone unturned to connect the dots.
Rejctx in its round two misses a powerhouse performer like Kubbra Sait, who did well to shoulder the relatively inexperienced cast. Sadly, a capable actor like Sumeet Vyas doesn’t have much to offer this time. Ahmed Masi Wali needs to go a long way with his screen presence, there’s a rehearsed-ness in his performance. Esha Gupta is a high-profile addition to the show yes, though it’s surprising that her role is not properly established at all. The other actors Anisha Victor, Saadhika, Ridhi Khakhar, Ayush Khurana, Prabhneet Singh come up with decent performances, though the shallow characters don’t test their mettle much.
It isn’t the easiest of tasks for a filmmaker to narrate a story about a bunch of privileged kids in a larger-than-life setting in Singapore and get the Indian audiences to buy their supposed-concerns. Yet, Goldie Behl with RejctX, featuring a relatively non-descript cast, had packed in a juicy cocktail of teenage angst, romance and crime with season one. Though barely relatable, the pulpy, pulsating narration, the inoffensive one-note characterisation made it a welcome addition to the Indian digital space. RejctX, for the unversed, is an Indian equivalent of the Netflix show Elite – the plots may be poles apart from each other, but it isn’t rocket science to understand that Elite is its key visual reference.
The second season of the show, though not un-watchable, feels like a poor cousin of its first instalment and more like an afterthought. Apart from the novelty value for the first-time viewer, the show has nothing new to offer for the viewers of its first season. The characters don’t evolve much. Their concerns, the conflicts remain more or less similar. Sehmat and Misha are yet to embrace their sexuality, Kiara and Aarav renew their ties after a lull, Maddy has another girl swooning over him and Harry continues to be as obsessed about sex as before. A janitor and an investigative cop are introduced into the mix, but the show doesn’t give much time for the viewer to understand their world at all.
Though the shallowness in RejctX was quite obvious in the previous season as well, the multiplicity in the setting, the urgency in the storytelling replete with the miraculous amount of twists and turns made the viewer overlook its problems. There was an atmosphere at least. Without the flesh in the material in season two, the flaws appear more glaring. The romance in the relationships translates to a bunch of love-making sequences (minus the love). The protagonists come together for a band to discuss their concerns through music but the music-making process appears to be least among their concerns. Not even a single sequence shows the students attending a class. These are rich kids who don’t understand their privilege and make a mountain of a molehill.
If the show gets something right, it’s the tense vibe. The narrative warrants interest with the way it ties up the lives of these students in the school. The aftertaste of the show would have been much better had it not reduced the culprit’s motive to a creepy backstory. However, thankfully, there are a few subplots that are left open-ended as well. The canvas of Rejctx is still open – hope Goldie Behl channelises it better next time.
Music and Other Departments?
Second time in a row, the makers of RejctX miss an opportunity to make an impact with the music, when it could have been a wonderful way to wrap the many conflicts/concerns of its characters through the numbers. The show’s visual appeal is one of its strengths – the styling, the costumes and the production design contribute to the flattering result. However, the writing and the character establishment are something that the minds behind RejctX truly need to invest their energies into.
Reasonably engaging screenplay
Poor music score
No powerhouse performances
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur