Starring: Gurfateh Pirzada, Anjali Sivaraman, Ayesha Kanga, Chayan Chopra, Chintan Rach, Cyaawal Singh, Madhyama Segal, Moses Koul, Naina Bhan, Piyush Khati, Zeyn Shaw
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Three high school students get a chance entry into an upscale private school in New Delhi – Hampton International – after their old school is burnt in a controversial fire. The dynamic of the elite group of students in their new ‘Class’, no matter how toxic, was functioning at some superficial level.
But the collision of the two worlds of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ was bound to unsettle that precarious dynamic, resulting in a series of dark, tumultuous events that ultimately lead to crime and tragedy.
This new Netflix series has attracted much attention since its release. Dynamically adapted from the popular Spanish series ‘Elite’ created by Carlos Montero and Dario Madrona, this young-adult series follows the present-day complexities in the lives of high school students, their relationships and the fragility of their world. The series brings forth several social vices against the backdrop of present-day Indian societies and culture. The series successfully explores various social issues like substance abuse, bullying, capitalism, underprivileged communities, gender, sexuality and caste.
The director of this series, Ashim Ahluwalia, and his team of scriptwriters are the real stars in this dark drama, who have finely knitted the screenplay into telling the stories from an Indian perspective. Moreover, the director has boldly banked upon some talented newcomers in lead roles. The gamble has paid off and brought some much-needed freshness and talent on screen. All of the 11 new faces have given the series their best, making the series an immersive watch even for those who have already watched the Spanish original.
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What I felt particularly praiseworthy is handling controversial topics like showing gay love on screen with all seriousness and pathos, without treating the LGBTQ+ topic frivolously. Several other taboo topics have been dealt with with equal confidence and bravado. One of the main characters is a Muslim girl from Kashmir, who is asked to come to class without her hijab by the Hampton International School’s principal – one of the many stirring moments that the series offers.
As the eight-episode season progresses, the upper-class snob students appear more humane in their times of crises and, when contrasted to their less privileged counterparts, are equally heart-wrenching. Beyond just a dark thriller, ‘Class’ unapologetically captures the uncertainty, toxicity and impossible expectations that today’s society presents its youths, pushing them to the ebb of self-harm, suicide or homicide.
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Overall, the series is not only binge-worthy but also offers a whole new perspective to the viewers. Today’s student life is no longer made up of the innocent romance as depicted in films like ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander’, also on Netflix. And that’s why shows like ‘Class’ are all the more commendable and perhaps a must-watch for parents of millennials to bridge the generation gap and avert tragedies, which are not so uncommon these days.