Format: Web Series
Movie Rated: 16+
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller
Total No of Episodes: 6
What is the story About?
Just as the second season of Zee5’s teen mystery-musical-thriller-erotica-drama mish-mash of genres Rejctx closes before the big cliffhanger makes way for another season, Police Inspector Rene (Esha Gupta) stands in front of a bunch of students from Jefferson World High School and says - “I don’t give a shit about you privileged morons.” My hope would have been that either someone had mentioned this to me before I started watching the show, or drilled it into the screenwriter’s head. This is a lot of production money going into something that no one should, ideally, give a shit about. I shudder to think what it is that prompted the greenlighting of another season after the abomination that was season 1.
For those who haven’t kept up, or have… sure, Rejctx is about a group of rich kids at an elite private school in Singapore, each dealing with their own demons - Aarav, Kiara, Sehmat, Maddy, Parnomitra, Misha and Harry. When we are introduced to them in the first season, they are bright, energetic and talented young things, who decide to find a pop-rock band together. Outside of the unnecessary murder mystery which is the central theme of the show, I’ll give points to Rejctx for at least attempting to address certain taboo issues like gender, sexuality, dysfunctional family dynamics, peer pressure and addiction amidst the youth of today. But that was then. This time, there is another murder (and a few more). There’s a cop who is hot on their trail, a cyberbully who knows their every secret, a mentally deranged doppelganger(?!), and lots of sex.
Saying that Karan Johar’s teen drama Student of the Year is to Archie Comics, is what Rejctx is to Netflix’ dark retelling Riverdale would be giving this show significant credit but it is possibly the most obvious analogy one could think of when watching the show. At this point in time, in the trajectory of shows which revolve around teenagers or high schoolers and are far from gentle in showcasing the darker side of growing up, Rejctx comes across as nothing but a bunch of rejected ideas which the writers of the I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, Wild Things, Shaitan and even the assembly line of Channel V shows saw no potential in. For instance, there is no nuance in showing how cyberbullying or online harassment could potentially ruin lives permanently. Once again, it is a noble pursuit to allow the students of Jefferson to go through more worldly problems, but somewhere they stop being human enough for kids of any age to identify with and more as caricatures of an angsty teenager portrait from pop culture. There is an immense lack of subtlety shown in the love stories (genders notwithstanding). If nothing else, it is a testament to the provocative thumbnails for each episode on the streaming channel’s interface that the show itself is not too concerned in exploring what falling in love, attraction or even sexual desire entails for young people. The cast-members are clearly buff enough for the purpose of titillation.
Like last season, the central mystery is also that of an unexplained death - the suicide, or alleged murder of ‘Anushka’ (Kubbra Sait)? If the murder then held some intrigue, it would be difficult to find a bone to care about this one. All the clues and witnesses seem to point towards the ‘Archie Andrews-eqsue’ Aarav. However, Aarav doesn’t have a lot to connect to other than gaping around and making out with his girlfriend. There are roughly a million subplots per second running in Rejctx other than Officer Rene’s investigation and after a point, it is simply exhausting to keep up with. At the end of the day, she is right. They’re just a bunch of unlikable spoilt brats with no discernible motivation to be friends, going around pulling triggers and popping pills. God knows why they are labelled as Jefferson’s ‘rejects’ when they’re mostly prancing around at parties and concerts like any other ‘in-crowd.’
Other than Sumeet Vyas (who is around as the Vice Principal of the school), it doesn’t seem like the rest of the cast comes with a lot of experience. This is the kind of show where even a limited performer like Esha Gupta comes across as doing a good job. Some of the younger cast-members can barely hold a dialogue together, let alone a whole scene. Absolutely no effort has been put in even bothering to get a straight sentence out of the filler-actors. Prabhneet Singh and Saadhika Syal are the only members of the young gang who get deserved screen-time.
If you are a teenager or a young adult who is perhaps intrigued by fairly good-looking people making out on screen, that could certainly be a highlight for you. I found barely anything worthy.
The biggest drawback of a show like Rejctx is the disappointment of our writing in the teen drama genre possibly moving backwards. While nothing pathbreaking, there was still something in a show like Star One’s Remix, to give as an example, that made it easy to connect to that generation. Similar characters, competent actors, a more modest design, but essentially the premise was the same - a group of popular kids and misfits come together in their everyday trials. More recently, the SOTY series may come across as frivolous candy-floss cinema, but it still deals with human emotions and drama with a lot more panache. It is probably a vain pursuit to try and compare this show to anything that has been made by The CW - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars or 90210, or anything from Netflix because it would pale in comparison for sheer mediocrity. I wish the money being put into this show was going into making something better.
Music and Other Departments:
Rejctx is a musical with the jukebox from the second season being composed by Ashutosh Pathak and Ankur Tewari. Not a single song is noteworthy and mostly comes across as a distraction in the screenplay, which makes it redundant as the story does revolve around a band. Fortunately, you can easily skip the songs in the show making it go a lot faster. That said, props to the excellent production design and cinematography bringing Rejctx at par with any international show visually.
Did I Enjoy It?
Not at all.
Do I Recommend It?