It’s been almost three weeks that the entire internet has been obsessed with the Indian teen drama, Class. A number of reviews have been written on this official Netflix adaptation of Elite (Yes, it is an adaptation, not a remake). In fact, the show also made it to Diet Sabya, and the people who probably didn’t have the slightest idea about it ended up watching it so that their friendly ‘critic’ wouldn’t ruin the show for them. But hey, I am not complaining. I got the opportunity to watch the show before it became a thing (flex) and now that it’s been almost a month that I’ve viewed it, I can officially say, that I am a FAN. Period.
Now, before you jump to a conclusion and tell me that the OG Spanish show was better, here are my two cents. For starters, I was as skeptical as most of the Indians were because let’s face it, when most of our favorite shows or films from the west are ‘adapted’ 70% of the time, we end up disliking them. It’s not because you don’t trust the makers but because most of the time, in the process of adapting to the story, the entire narrative gets lost. I have been a huge fan of Elite myself and as guilty as I am charged, I have watched all six seasons. So, when I was planning to watch Class, I had to literally (not even kidding) prepared myself for what I was going to view onscreen. Now, eight episodes down, and I realized that nobody better than Aushim Ahluwalia could narrate this tale. While Aushim has managed to stay true to a lot of topics that the show deals with, my utmost favorite of all of them was the love story of Dhruv and Faruq and of course my favorite character, Faruq Manzoor played by the super talented Chintan Rachchh.
What about Faruq managed to impress me you may ask, and the answer is, everything! First up, he wasn’t involved in all the drama that took place in Hampton High and was eons of kms away from it. Deep inside, I was literally vouching for Faruq to not be the murderer (Oops spoilers). Jokes apart guys, Faruk Manzoor, is a Kashmiri Muslim, who has just shifted to Delhi with his Abu-Ammi and his sister Saba. From a bird’s eye view, it looks like a perfectly simple Muslim family and while the latter three might be leading a very simple life, Faruq indirectly attracts all the complexities. For starters, he’s a drug peddler who is trying to make an extra income so that he can support his family. Second up, He has shut himself down from all the emotions of the world. He is busy with his Abu’s business and dealings and just one fine day, love knocks on his door, and Faruq answers and how!
Chintan Rachchh, who essays the role literally leaves no stone unturned to shake your core, take notice, and make you slowly and steadily fall in love with Mr. Manzoor step by step. Whether it’s the way he communicates, the way he rolls the cigarette, or the way he addresses Dhruv, everything about Faruq is likable. You may ask, why is Faruk so different from all the other similar men who have been portrayed on-screen and the answer to that is Chintan’s conviction. To add to that are the power-packed scenes with hard-hitting dialogues that make sure you pay all your attention to what Faruk has to say. It almost becomes one of the reasons why you don’t really care about who Suhani’s murderer is because throughout the show you are heavily invested in Faruk’s tale and his fate.
While Omar from Elite tried his level best to impress us, Faruq is no ordinary guy. His ruggedness and rawness are what instantly appeal to you and for some reason, you eventually end up embarking on the journey this peddler has to offer. Chintan’s scenes in the show are so strong that at times as a viewer you can’t really differentiate whether he is playing the character or himself because every scene he pushes the envelope little by little till he ends up eating the damn CAKE!
The show may or may not (in hope it’s the former) come back with season 2 but the emotion the viewers feel for Faruq are so strong that Twitterati are already demanding a prequel for Mr. Manzoor’s tale (Hello, Netflix). Whether the plea is fulfilled or not, one thing that doesn’t change is how Faruq will be one of the most influential characters of pop culture because he taught us how to be true to ourselves, and our loved ones, and he also taught us what true love is.