It is quite obvious, that the main villain of the film isn’t a gangster named Kalsekar but it is definitely the treatment given to the narrative.
“The institutionalized killing of gangsters by policemen.” This idea of vigilante super cops has been ruling the mainstream Indian Cinema for a very long time, be it the SCU (Singham Cinematic Universe) or any other cop-story related drama. And, Netflix’s new release, Class of 83 doesn’t present something new. Instead of a single man, it is a five-member squad now who are keen to knock-out goons without any jurisdiction. Much of the film feels like it is trimmed down to half of its original size because it has a material that can stretch quite brilliantly till 2 hours 30 minutes. But, just to make it a tightly-packed action-crime drama, it has been reduced by an hour that the plot actually deserves.
Adapted from S Hussain Zaidi’s non-fiction book, Class of 83 tells the story of how five backbenchers in a police training academy become a gang which wipes out the most dangerous gangster circuit of Bombay in the ’80s. All of them are trained under an honest-officer-turned-teacher Vijay Singh(Bobby Deol). Vijay Singh lost his wife while pursuing a lead about the boss of Kalsekar gang. And we never come to know, that he forms this squad as a medium to take revenge or he actually cares about clearing out the corrupt system which is in hands of Kalsekar. The whole film, since the beginning, points out how clever and dangerous Kalsekar is. But, in the end, nearly a ten-minutes sequence is given to him. It is quite obvious, that the main villain of the film isn’t a gangster named Kalsekar but it is definitely the treatment given to the narrative.
The five backbenchers namely, Khan, Shukla, Varde, Surve, and Jadhav are played by new faces but none of them is given a space to shine. All characters exist just for the sake of existing and we get to know nothing about them except the fact that they are cops. Bobby Deol’s background as well is written in an incomplete manner. In the beginning, we see a rift between him and his son, Rohan but in the second half, matters are solved automatically. Just to add a little spice in a dead premise, suddenly we see trouble between two members of the squad based on the number of encounters they did. The film does a good job in maintaining the backdrop of ’80s like the double-decker buses, the white Contessas, the posters of popular films of 1983 on the walls, or the whole Bombay framed much like the spectacular neo-noirs like Parinda and even Viju Shah’s amazing retro synths helps the narrative in different situations, quite marvelously.
Performance-wise, Bobby Deol’s character as a grieving husband doesn’t demand much range of emotions rather than being expressionlessly sad and angry at the last action sequence. But, as action sequences are very less so he does a mediocre job in portraying his sad character all the time. There are two scenes of eating a meal together and it brilliantly shows the changing dynamics between the five friends. But, there are only small moments that shine other than that Class of 83 as a whole is a predictable cop drama that is half-baked and clearly lacks a proper structure.
Cast: Bobby Deol, Sameer Paranjape, Bhupendra Jadawat, Ninad Mahajani, Prithvik Pratap, Hitesh Bhojraj, Anup Soni.
Director: Atul Sabharwal
Verdict: You can skip this. Or watch it just to faintly feel a sense of nostalgia about 80’s cop drama.