High school kids. Rich. They spend Rs 15,000 a day. They are mean to those outside and inside their clique. They smoke weed and occasionally pop what they call ‘magic pills’. One of them shouts, “Let’s eat, drink, rave and repeat.”
This raving happens in the school campus at night and they get away with it when one of them convinces the principal that they partied to raise money for charity. They will make you think, “Kids, these days.” Kids these days watching Class Of 2017 will think “I wish.”
Being irresponsible, spoilt brats with a massive sense of entitlement can never substitute for character. School is tough. High school is tougher. Kids get bullied and body-shamed. Some of them take to drugs. And staying a virgin becomes a cross to bear. All of this features in ALT Balaji’s new webseries Class Of 2017. And that is it. There is zero to minimal character development, no depth in writing, not a modicum of intelligence or sincerity on display. Either the writers are confident that showing a bunch of kids having sex and consuming drugs all the time suffice for a good enough show. Or maybe that’s just the memo the writers got from its producers.
Class Of 2017 has to its credit six writers – that’s one less than the number of writers who worked on Krrish 3. ALT Balaji is Balaji Telefilms’ web-only streaming service, and a year-long subscription plan costs Rs 300. That explains a lot, because money definitely cannot buy such bad writing.
The show itself looks cheap. Ten episodes (thankfully, under 16 minutes each), and the school in the show has literally one teacher. She teaches chemistry and through all the episodes, the students don’t learn anything but chemistry. In one episode, the students are geared up for a final in a football competition, and it is soon revealed that it’s a five-a-side match. The playground itself is no bigger than a pond and some 10-odd students are cheering from the sidelines. At no point do students from any other class appear in a frame.
Even though the first season looks like it was made for what any character in the show spends in a day, the question is, does the soul of Class Of 2017 suffer from the low budget? Behind the haze of sex, drugs and the adrenaline rush, is there any humanity? Well, not really.
One character resorts to becoming an escort to maintain her lifestyle because her friends would otherwise reject her for not being rich. Another starts to starve himself and overwork in the gym when he is bullied for his weight. The girls in Class Of 2017 can be broadly divided into two categories: Bettys and Veronicas. The Bettys try to gain audience sympathy, as is usual in most installments of the high school genre. But these elements are, at best, a welcome distraction from the general aimlessness of the show. Shoehorning themes of peer pressure, drug abuse, body-shaming and high-school bullying only makes the show relevant on paper. The basic fundamentals, such as good writing, interesting characters and a story to care about, are missing.