Netflix series, “Class” forces you to take a look at yourself in the ugly mirror called society, and how they treat you and how they treat other fellow human beings. Caste has been the bane of Indian society for centuries, and to date, caste-based and class-based discrimination has not diminished; people from rich means still look down upon people from other backgrounds and do not make friends with them. The discrimination is horrendous to the point it starts rubbing off on kids who are of an impressionable age. They walk and talk like their elders. The series is a remake of the Spanish Netflix original, “Elite,” that throws light on the class and caste-based differences between kids from uber-rich families; three kids from not-so-rich families as the latter join the former’s school. Things in school go off balance, and the rich kids find it weird to get along with the new ones.
The Story Of Dheeraj, Saba, And Balram
“Class” Episode 1 begins with a supposed accident that has killed a girl. At the scene of the crime, there is Dheeraj, who is being questioned about his involvement in the murder of his classmate. Dheeraj starts narrating the circumstances under which he joined Hampton International School. Dheeraj, Saba, and Balram are from the Nurpur area of Delhi, which is far away from south Delhi, which is a hub of the rich and the elite. Dheeraj, Saba, and Balram come from lower middle-class families who study in a school that was built by the Ahujas, one of the leading real estate developers in the city. The school Dheeraj, Saba, and Balram, aka Balli, ‘s school was gutted down in a fire, and to compensate, Ahuja pays for Dheeraj, Saba, and Balram’s admission into Hampton International school and pays for their fees too.
Incidentally, Ahuja’s kids study in the same school too. Ahuja is trying to use this to reduce the sentence in the case of an accidental fire in school if the final verdict is against him. The kids also are aware of why Ahuja is doing this charity work. Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli are high achieving kids from the previous school, and their admission to one of the leading schools of the city would help them accelerate their dreams of walking away from their existing life. All three of them know living the life they are leading now will not help them achieve their dreams. Even though they are aware of the fact that they are a charity cause, this admission is the opportunity of a lifetime. Dheeraj aspires to become an IAS officer; Saba aspires to be a diplomat; while Balram, aka Balli, is happy with his life as a social media influencer and wants to someday become a supermodel. Balli, out of all the three, is not embarrassed about who he is and what he is. Balli speaks only in crude Delhi Hindi, which is some sort of spectacle for the kids from rich families who haven’t come across a confident boy like Balli.
Veer and Suhani Ahuja, kids of the said rich real estate developer, are swimming in riches, but Suhani doesn’t feel she belongs to the family, for she is always treated like a stranger. Veer, on the other hand, has his moments of smugness and being a good boy. He tries to navigate between understanding his sister and making his parents happy by doing what he thinks he is supposed to do. All the kids in the class are above fifteen, are a cesspool of raging hormones, and have nothing to worry about in the world they live in because their parents are rich. Yashika is aiming for a scholarship, for which she now has a competitor, the new student Saba. Koel, on the other hand, is dating her classmate Sharan, and they make a weird couple. Koel, though physically attracted to Balli, can’t seem to let go of Sharan too. The attraction, lust, and physical intimacy with people is a way of showcasing the lifestyles of rich and the unperturbed, who have nothing to lose in the long run as they have their parents’ money to fall back on. These kids are slathered with luxury, which is paid for by their parents. Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli are the only kids who understand the value of money, for they have been brought up with the understanding that money is hard-earned.
‘Class’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – Why Is Dheeraj Not Able To Fit Into This Elite School?
The other protagonists, as mentioned above, Suhani, Veer, Koel, Sharan, Yashika, and Dhruv, are taken aback to see kids from the lower middle class who are academically gifted joining their school. They, too, know these three are charity cases, which is the butt of all the jokes directed toward Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli. The three of them don’t mind the ridicule, for they know it is a part of the package, and they are only here to study hard; making friends is secondary. Dheeraj works at his brother’s restaurant as a waiter when not in school, and Saba helps her father with taking care of the accounts for the tailoring unit he runs that makes Kashmiri shawls. Balli, on the other hand, is a successful influencer and runs events and parties on a part-time basis. They have their lives sorted, unlike the rest of the kids in their class. They aim high, but their means to reach their aim are not high enough. They borderline bully the three new kids, but soon a few of them start liking and hanging out with each of them individually.
The rich kids and their lingo reeks of classism which Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli are not surprised by but they choose to ignore it. Dhruv is the son of a swimming coach in the school and the school principal. He is running on the big dreams his father has for him to become an Olympic-level champion. Dhruv, being a frustrated teen, wants to be anything but a swimmer. The pressure from his father is mounting, and he can sense himself losing control of his life. Dhruv starts getting along with Balli, who can see through Dhruv and help him relax. Balli introduces Dhruv to Faruq, a small-time dope dealer. Dhruv realizes indulging in drugs helps him calm and relax, and Faruq gives him company. Dhruv is new to using substances such as these, but Faruq and Balli help him calm down. Dhruv is best friends with Veer; but he seems to have lost touch with him and is unable to convey his thoughts to him. He is attracted to Faruq and starts checking him out on various social media handles, establishing the fact that Dhruv is gay. Dhruv is a school-going kid who is unable to express his feelings and his sexuality to anyone close, fearing ostracization. He keeps it to himself and does not reveal to his best friend Veer that he loves men.
Dheeraj’s brother Neeraj is the man who started a rally against Ahuja so that the local civic bodies were pressured to file a case against this rich man. Neeraj is sure that Ahuja is the culprit behind the fire, which killed many children. All the brouhaha charity work he did after the fire was just a face he was putting up as damage control for his company’s PR purposes. Neeraj, though, is angry about the fact that he is being targeted for raising awareness and arrested for inciting violence. Neeraj and Dheeraj come from backward castes; Neeraj, being the elder brother, is bothered by the fact that Dheeraj is not disturbed by caste-based discrimination perpetrated against them. Dheeraj believes in studying hard and making a name for themselves on their own instead of fighting over caste, which has never helped anyone. Only hard work takes people toward success. Neeraj hopes to kill Ahuja so that he can avenge the killing of the kids on the school fire.
Yashika is jealous of Saba, for she is slowly and steadily taking over the role of being the best and a model student by submitting intelligent essays and running for posts on which Yashika had her eyes. Their teacher openly praises Saba in the class, which irks Yashika even more. At a party thrown by Veer and Suhani’s parents for the project they are making to compensate for the school which got destroyed in the fire, Yashika forces Veer to seduce Saba, photograph her and leak her images to sabotage her now arch-rival. Veer reluctantly agrees to do so. Though the party is meant for Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli, the kids have never felt so out of place. The party was a PR stunt to make the media and the people from the Nurpur area know of the work Ahuja is carrying out for the betterment of the kids and to improve their social and educational upbringing. Dheeraj, in the interrogation room, divulged all this information about what had happened in the few days since he, Saba, and Balli joined the school. Dheeraj, at this point, reveals that he feels guilty for joining the school. If he had rejected the offer given to him, Suhani would have still been alive. Dheeraj is in a state of shock at what he became a witness to and what exactly he has been through within months of joining the elite new school. He had not expected to be dragged into a murder case, and the revelation of Suhani’s death comes as a rude shock because there is not much the viewers know at this point about the girl. There is an indication that an incident happened to her a year ago, but there is not much talk about it. Suhani’s death is the reason why hard-core interrogations are going on.
‘Class’ Episode 2: Expectations
Episode two of “Class” will take us deep into the lives of these kids. Episode one was just a trailer; the second episode and the rest of the show will be a full-fledged long movie on why the kids behave the way they do, their family dynamics, and the connection of the kids with Suhani’s death. There will hopefully be a hint of what happened with Suhani if she was involved in any untoward incident.
The writers of “Class” hit the nail where it hurts and begin by introducing a topic that is always discussed in hush-hush tones behind the closed doors of a home: caste and class. The name of the show is a wordplay on not just the classroom in a school but also the fact that class-based discrimination in our country is blatant and blunt, an open secret that no one wants to talk about. It starts with teaching their kids about it, and then it slips into their lingo in no time. “Class” head-on talks about all these issues and much more through the eyes of Dheeraj, who initially does not believe in caste talk. The shot of the interrogation scenes in between the narrative is inspired by “Big Little Lies.” But this kind of filmmaking increases the intrigue and makes the storytelling dark. Brilliantly cast and superbly acted, writers Rajesh Devraj, Bhaskar Hazarika, Raghav Kakkar, Kashyap Kapoor, and Kersi Khambatta do not shy away from talking about uncomfortable topics in the most matter-of-fact way. “Class” so far has nailed the first episode. Looking forward to a more intense viewing.