The books of S. Hussain Zaidi’s Mumbai Crime and Underworld have often been adapted as celluloid. Perhaps the best example of this is Black Friday, which took a hard look at the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts and subsequent events. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, it is often cited as his finest work. The current film has been adapted from Zaidi’s The Class of 83: The Punisher of Mumbai Police (2019). The book has been called a critique on the encounter experts of the Mumbai Police Force.
The premise of the film is interesting. An honest officer, Vijay Singh (Bobby Deol), has been made the dean of the Officers’ Training School in Nashik as a punishment posting. He was forever hurt by the death of his wife Sudha (Geetika Tyagi) and a failed operation against a dreaded gangster. The two incidents occurred almost simultaneously and left her emotionally frightened, making her suicidal in the process. To extricate himself, he catches five weak students and tries to instill in them the spirit of cleaning the system by taking out the crooks.
The academy’s stern view as nail training instructor Mangesh Dixit (Vishwajeet Pradhan) is suspect, but Vijay Singh has his hopes set on Pramod Shukla (Bhupendra Jadawat), Vishnu Marade (Hitesh Bhojraj), Aslam Khan (Sameer Paranjpe), Laxman Jadhav Huh. (Ninad Mahajani) and Janardan Surve (Prithvi Pratap). He also takes his friend, DCP Raghav Desai (Joy Sengupta) into confidence and forces him to form an off-the-record team specializing in encounter killings. Things are planned for some time, but the greed for money, as well as rivalry over encounter credits, threatens to tear the team apart.
The description of the duration of the film is excellent. From cars – from Fiat and Ambassadors to Contesses, posters of films like Atheist, from the disgusting best buses to the mills – everything reminds you of 80s Mumbai. Kudos gave a good job to Donald Reason Gracie and Anita Rajagopalan Lata. Kudos also for grainy cinematography for Mario and for the editing of Nitin Baid and Manas Mittal. The screenplay also brings the period in detail. The actors discuss closing the mills during a meal, a scene is set in a newspaper office where an encounter specialist is given a tour of the printing area and in an argument with the editor responsible for his murder Is, and it also attacked Mumbai due to the influx of AK 47 guns due to terrorism in Punjab. Awesome from the film music of the 90s, Viju Shah gives the background score, and keeps the details of the period.
Director Atul Sabharwal has kept the action real. This is no Singham or Dabangg where goons fly after a punch. Bobby Deol thankfully takes out a machine gun and the Rambo goes all over. However, he has battle marks. His five chosen soldiers learn of his extraordinary killings without realizing anything. It seems that they are playing a video game and therefore nothing happens to their psyche by colliding with humans.
Bobby Deol’s revival continues with this film. He does not get to play the role of a traditional dishonest dishonest hero, but a bestial guru who constantly struggles with his inner demons. The role suits her and clever use of silence, going a long way towards establishing her character to convey things through her eyes rather than lengthy conversations. Where did Bobby Deol hide before, we wondered? The five debutants are excellent and hold the film together. Jadavat, Bhojraj and Paranjpe get more screen time than the others, but the five are seen as a composite unit.
Overall, the film gives the impression of being the pilot episode of an interesting series on Mumbai’s police and criminals. It would have been better if it had been developed as a chain …