In 2018, Carlos Montero and Dario Madrona created the world of the elite school, Las Encinas, and presented the world with Elite, a Spanish television drama. A show about classmates and how their shenanigans lead them to do things the average 20-year-olds’ wouldn’t even think of doing. The show was released on Netflix and was an instant hit. I encountered the show much later in 2020 when the pandemic had hit us and like everyone else, I too was binge-watching everything the internet had to offer. One hour into the show and I was hooked. Three weeks later, I was a fan. Even though it did get a little predictable there was something about this one that managed to stay with you and made you crave for more.
Fast forward to 2021, I came to know that India was going to recreate the world of my favorite show and just like everyone my instant reaction was, WHY?! I was a little agitated because yet again another thing that was so close to my heart was ‘probably’ going to be ruined. It’s 2023, and the Indian adaptation, Class, has finally been released on Netflix. The Ashim Ahluwalia directorial cleverly brought the world of Las Encinas to our roots and made it Hampton and introduced us to 11 characters each so similar yet so different. While each one of them got the pulse of Elite bang on, the two who managed to stay with me were Faruq (Chintan Rachchh) and Dhruv (Chayan Chopra).
Watch the Class trailer here:
For all the noobs, Faruq and Dhruv are India’s Omar and Anders. So, what is so special about these characters and why do they manage to strike a chord you may ask? It is for the storyline they narrate. Faruq is a Kashmiri-Muslim who is living in Delhi with his parents, Dhruv is the principal’s son and belongs to an affluent family in Delhi. While Faruq has to help his father manage accounts of their carpet business and make ends meet, Dhruv has to constantly hustle to be the best at academics and extracurriculars because his aim (as per his father) is to participate and win at the national swimming competition. Both the men belong to different spheres of society and yet when they meet, you immediately witness the magic on-screen. Deep inside Faruq seeks love, adoration, and care, whereas Dhruv seeks someone who doesn’t care about the money or the academics and right there they find love.
Indian cinema has been trying its level best to portray the LGBTQIA+ community for a long time now. While sometimes they manage to scratch the surface just right (The recent case being Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar starrer Badhaai Do), most of the time it’s a huge miss. But after watching Class, I finally feel that filmmakers can do justice to the topic if they handle it with care and love, just like Ashim does. Whenever Dhruv and Faruq appear on-screen you constantly ship the two of them and while there’s a serious crime that’s been committed in the show and the murderer is to be found, these two make you forget all of it. Their scenes are a perfect example of how love in totality needs to be portrayed in films because that’s the kind of love all of us remember. There’s something poetic about Dhruv and Faruq and that is one of the strong sub-plots of Class. Chintan and Chayan essay their role to the T so much that by the end of the show, little do you care about the criminal but most of your heart feels the pain and void both the characters leave in your heart.
Class is a very classic example of how LGBTQIA+ community needs to be represented on the screen. We’ve heard ‘Love is love’ and when you watch the series you feel every word of it. When you watch Faruq and Dhruv on the show, what stays with you are two young hearts madly in love with each other, separated by society, drama, and fate. While I am eagerly waiting for Class season 2 now, I am also low-key praying that I get a spin-off featuring Faruq and Dhruv because (Dropping show reference, so that if you haven’t watched the show you watch it on 3rd February for sure), while Ismail Khan may have had an incomplete love story, these ‘schoolboys’ deserve their happy ending!