Based on ‘The Class of 83’ by Hussain Zaidi, this film is about a story of a tough, rigid cop with a tragic past, who creates an experiment with the aim of vigilante justice. Director Atul Sabharwal however doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of perspective about the law enforcement agencies in our country.
The film starts inside the Police Training Centre in Nasik where men and women train to be part of the Mumbai Police Force. Again, the training montages also start in the similar way, with condescending statements being used as ‘motivation’ to make the soldiers tough. The dean of this academy was Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), who was once a decorated cop, sweeping criminals and gangs off of Mumbai’s streets. Within the centre, he is merely a ghost. His stories are known by everyone, but no one knows how he looks, and that’s when one of the students uses the word “punishment posting”.
Out of the batch, the 5 who have scored the least marks, are on the verge of rustication. However, Singh, who considers himself as a romantic when it comes to idealism and justice, conducts an experiment to give these backbenchers another chance, and make them function as antibodies against the viruses in our system. This is not the first time we’ve seen this trope being used where a senior, ideal person uses youngsters to achieve what he failed at achieving. His entire concept is that he wants to create a squad that can kill outside their jurisdiction, and against official procedures which take time to arrive and wipe out criminality, which had taken over Mumbai from all corners in the 80s.
What follows once these youngsters leave the academy is the harsh reality to begin with, the reality of the police force and the odd jobs they have to do versus the jobs they need to make the city a better place. The cadets are played by newcomers Ninad Mahajani, Bhupendra Jadawat, Sameer Paranjape, Hitesh Bhojraj and Prithvik Pratap, who do a great job in playing the rebels with a cause and heart, and a responsibility given to them by Dean Vijay Singh.
One of the best scenes in the film is when they five are seen dining together, feasting on meat. Very quickly the mood of the table changes, thanks to facts being taken by somebody personally. But even then, that scene ends on a comic note with both parties understanding what is right and not letting the friendship be affected.
DoP Mario Poljac does a fantastic job in recreating the Mumbai of the 80s with the colours of brown and green, and nothing too bright or making it seem real time, to give it a look from the past. However, the cinematics do nothing to aid the storyline that doesn’t add anything new on screen, but rather goes by in a flash, with a run time of just 98 minutes. The shootout scenes itself seem rushed and the lapse of time, or other information is given through a lazy expository voiceover, that of Aslam, one of the five cadets.
Bobby Deol tries to find himself in a meatier role, however even his sternness or frustration of wanting to do the right thing doesn’t help much to the overall story that doesn’t give itself time to brew a certain sense of urgency.
Atul Sabharwal’s Class of ’83, though has new faces, it still tells the same narrative about corruption, politics, crime and drama with nothing new to offer, and barely any empathy with the characters thanks to its unnecessarily fast paced story, narrated by a lazy voiceover rather than diving deeper and letting the merits of the story do its job.