Home > Culture > LSA Decodes: What Netflix’s Class gets right about inequality in India
LSA Decodes: What Netflix’s Class gets right about inequality in India

In between all the sex, nudity, drugs, violence and glamour, Netflix’s Class aims to hold a mirror up to society and succeeds.

At the start of the second episode of Netflix’s recently released Class, Yashika (played by Ayesha Kanga) talks about the difference between social media and reality. True to her character, she is insensitive to a fault when she states that “Dalit Lives Matter” and “These Lives Matter” is “shit only na, Sir? Stories banake post karne ke liye sab theek hai but the reality of things is just not that simple”.

Class Review Netflix
Zeyn Shaw and Ayesha Kanga in Netflix’s Class

While Yashika then goes on to blame her underprivileged classmates for all the bad things happening in her posh school, she makes a very important point. Class and caste play a vital role in the series where Yashika and her criminally snobbish friends constantly torment and mistreat the three new entrants to their school, Dheeraj (Piyush Khati), Saba (Madhyama Segal) and Balli (Cyaawal Singh). 

Class Review Netflix
Madhyama Segal delivers a standout performance in Class

Even Suhani (Anjali Sivaraman) who stands up for the newbies tends to fetishise their poverty. At one point in the episode, she goes “wow, so much mood ya” as she enters her classmate’s rundown home and promptly pulls out her phone to presumably take aesthetic shots of the broken chairs and the peeling walls. At one point, she even tries to console Dheeraj by telling him that the brats don’t care about his caste, they only hate him because he’s poor. When you see these scenes, you’re instantly transported to editorial shoots by leading brands where poor people add the ‘mood’ to their luxury photos.

Anjali Sivaraman
Anjali Sivaraman in a still from Class

You tend to realize how our idea of showing solidarity for a disenfranchised group is by sharing a Canva-made Instagram post on our stories, tweeting something provocative and then promptly forgetting all about it. Social issues have been reduced to a tweet or a hashtag that is promptly forgotten in the wake of something sensational.

Class Review Netflix
Chintan Rachchh in Netflix’s Class

Class shows us the nasty side of the privileged in sharp, clear detail. What makes us wince is how the rich brats talk about the poor but really, are we any better? We may have become ‘politically correct’ but do we really treat others better or is our altruism only restricted to replacing the term ‘maid’ with ‘domestic worker’?

Check out the trailer of Class here:

In between all the nudity, sex scenes, drugs, violence and glamour, director Ashim Ahluwalia aims to make these points and most times, he succeeds. The series touches on every aspect of a person’s life that goes untouched because of their wealth and privilege.

While a gay man from an elite family is let go with a slap, another from a less privileged upbringing is beaten till he bleeds. In the world of Class, even whom you love is decided by the strata of society you belong to. But after all, love is the most powerful force in the Universe and cannot be so easily snuffed out. The characters start getting interesting once you get a deeper glimpse into their private lives. They may initially come off as one-tone and unbearable but you begin to understand why each character behaves the way they do. And you realise in more ways than one that the brats are victims of their upbringing. After all, no good fruit grows on a rotten tree.

Moses Koul and Naina Bhan in Class

The cast of Class makes an assured debut and shines when they are allowed to showcase the most vulnerable sides of their respective characters. It’s heartening to see so many non-industry actors making a debut for a major OTT platform in one go. Here’s wishing this batch of 2023 continued success in their future ventures.

LSA Decodes: What Netflix’s Class gets right about inequality in India

Mayukh Majumdar

Entertainment Editor

Mayukh Majumdar lives life in Bollywood dialogues and has previously worked with media channels like Filmfare, Rolling Stone India, Man's World India and Mirror Now. He aspires to travel like Freya Stark and retire in New Orleans one day.

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