In a police inquiry scene in Class of ’83, we see a moment between Bobby Deol’s Vijay Singh and a group of youngsters who were once trained by him. The lighting of that scene looked terrific as we saw the face of Vijay Singh in a partial silhouette manner. Once the officers left the room his face shifts to an angle that offered more light and more clarity. Cinematography is a tool of communication and the way this scene got lit was one really good example of that. I am pointing out this positive from the movie Class of ’83 because the film was a heavy disappointment for me as this kind of craft-oriented making never got a script that could make the movie look compelling.
Vijay Singh was a star police officer in the Mumbai police who wanted to eradicate all the anti-social elements from the society. But his hunt for gangsters wasn’t a comfortable ride as the people above him had connections with the people whom he wanted to kill. Singh eventually got a punishment transfer to be the dean in a police academy. The central theme of the Class of ’83 is about Vijay Singh’s idea to train a group of police officers who will kill the gangsters. Making them a team that won’t have to answer the usual questioning that follows encounter killings was his proposition. How that plan goes is what we are seeing here.
The movie is based on the book by Hussain Zaidi title “The Class of ‘83”. It is a book that was based on true events. While Atul Sabharwal was able to pull us into that ‘80s world with the usage of some of the quality archived footages appearing in between scenes, the writing here wasn’t creating any sort of excitement for the viewer. By the time the movie sort of ended, it kind of reminded me the same baffling feel I had when I watched Force that had an incredibly invincible Vidyut Jamwal as the villain. In Force, after a massive buildup towards an ultimate fight, Nishikant Kamat ended the fight in a ridiculously simple way making me almost say “that’s it? All this for that?” Class of ’83 was constantly giving us a feeling that something big is about to happen, but sadly nothing happens.
Bobby Deol has stepped out of his comfort zone by playing the age here. As Vijay Singh’s wife says in a scene, the salt and pepper look is looking good on him. Vijay Singh is that serious officer (almost the Kabir Khan of Mumbai police) who has gone through a lot in life and this batch is in a way his path to redemption. The fragility, anger, and focus of Vijay Singh are in that controlled space and Bobby embodies that energy neatly. Hitesh Bhojraj as Varde and Bhupendra Jadawat as Shukla were extremely convincing in their respective roles. The level of conviction in the acting part of almost all the actors is appreciable.
What is disappointing here is the writing of Abhijeet Deshpande. This is not an unfamiliar topic for us as an audience. An honest police officer fighting back against the odds within the system is a cliché we have seen a zillion times in Indian cinema and the only difference here was that instead of one man doing it, we had a team doing that. Being based on a true story, this was a good opportunity for Atul Sabharwal and the team to present the formula in a more real way. But the movie was investing so much time in setting up the stage. But by the time the stage was set, it was already late and they wrapped it up without giving the viewer that high of watching a thriller. Glorifying an idea that gives police an unrestricted power to kill anyone is indeed questionable. But it wasn’t like Class of ’83 totally ignored that aspect. The major conflict in the movie had a connection with the misuse of power. The cinematography by Mario Poljac captured the mood of the situation effectively.
Class of ’83 is a movie that just couldn’t take off after setting up the backdrop. The conflict we see here wasn’t really the conflict of the story and thus the solution they provide at the end looks all the more hasty and shallow. The performances are good, but in totality Class of ’83 is a big bummer.
Class of ’83 is a movie that just couldn’t take off after setting up the backdrop. The performances are good, but in totality Class of ’83 is a big bummer.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended