Saturday, Dec 02, 2023

‘School Of Lies’ On Disney+ Hotstar Review: Spectacular Cinematography, Riveting Storytelling, But Predictable Plot Twists – Sums Up Nimrat Kaur-Aamir Bashir’s Show

‘School Of Lies’ On Disney+ Hotstar Review: Spectacular Cinematography, Riveting Storytelling, But Predictable Plot Twists – Sums Up Nimrat Kaur-Aamir Bashir’s Show

Outlook rating
2.5 / 5

Disney+ Hotstar has come up with a new mystery thriller, ‘School Of Lies’. Is the show worth your time? Or can you simply skip it? Read the review to find out.

School Of Lies
School Of Lies Instagram

‘School Of Lies’: Cast & Crew

Series Creator: Avinash Arun, Ishani Banerjee

Director: Avinash Arun

Cast: Nimrat Kaur, Aamir Bashir, Aryan Singh Ahlawat, Varin Roopani, Vir Pachisia, Shakti Anand, Sonali Kulkarni, Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Adrija Sinha, Nitin Goel, Vijay Kumar Dogra, Jitendra Joshi, Divyansh Dwivedi, Hemant Choudhary

Available On: Disney+ Hotstar

Duration: 8 Episodes, 30-35 Minutes Each

‘School Of Lies’: Story

When a 12-year-old student, Shakti Salgaonkar (Vir Pachisia) goes missing from a prestigious boarding school, RISE, and how the subsequent domino effect it causes as the truth is only as complex as simple. Will some dark secrets be revealed? Will the school be able to save its face? Will the missing kid finally be found? Will the parents ever get justice? Well, for all that, you’ll have to watch ‘School Of Lies’.

‘School Of Lies’: Performances

It’s very rare that Nimrat Kaur picks up a character where she doesn’t shine through. However, ‘School Of Lies’ is one such show. Kaur’s character isn’t one of the leads and therefore she gets a smaller screen time in comparison to the others. She does showcase a range of emotions – from being concerned for the missing kid to being angry with her father to being shocked after the final revelation – she is spot on. However, the character wasn’t worthy of her expertise, and it feels as if she has underplayed the part, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that she could have brought a lot more into the character, had it been one of the main protagonists of the show.

Aamir Bashir is the standout performer of the ‘School Of Lies’. From getting the look correct to that of the body language, he brings out the feel of the housemaster to perfection. His character has such a great arc where it begins as a confident person who is feared by all students to he, himself becoming a victim of blackmail to him breaking down remembering his own childhood abuse to getting entrapped in the POCSO act – Bashir has given his heart and soul to make this character. The relatability is so uncanny that you would be invariable able to see your college or school housemasters in Bashir.

It's hard to accept that teenagers and kids like Aryan Singh Ahlawat, Varin Roopani and Vir Pachisia performed so well. Their characters were complex, but they brought out an innocence as well as a child-like likeability to the roles.

Adrija Sinha having performed so beautifully in ‘Bandaa’ on Zee5 has been given a character that has absolutely no relevance or impact to the storyline at all. I fail to understand why that character was even there. It’s such a waste of talent.

Geetika Vidya Ohlyan is a breath of fresh air. We’ve always seen her playing quite stereotypical characters, and she manages to break those shackles with ‘School Of Lies’ and give a performance that is definitely worthy of remembering. The confidence she exudes in her scenes with the school principal and the cops is remarkable. Hopefully, she will now start getting more characters where she isn’t typecast in poor and downtrodden characters.

Shakti Anand, Sonali Kulkarni and Jitendra Joshi’s talents have been squandered in characters that are just blink-and-miss types.

‘School Of Lies’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Nishant Agarwala, Avinash Arun, Ishani Banerjee, and Shoaib Nazeer’s writing is gripping. The set-up and the feel that they manage to bring in are perfect. However, what kills the show are the predictable plot twists. The writing leads you on till the second last episode and you’re hooked thinking about what’s the actual truth. However, when the final twists start opening up, you’re left high and dry as you feel that the twists were something that you had either seen in earlier shows or something that even you had already predicted from the start of the show. That kills a bit of the mystery that you’re led on to since the start of the show.

Avinash Arun tries to pull back a lot in the direction department. He tries to bring in as much thrill as possible and keep it gripping till the very end. The last episode, however, was absolutely unnecessary. He could have wrapped it up in the 7th episode.

Avinash Arun’s cinematography is the best part of ‘School Of Lies’. The exotic locales of Ooty and the surroundings have been showcased so picturesquely that you’re left wanting more and more. The shots in the jungle, the tea gardens, the closing shot with that lake in the background – all of them have been so beautifully shot and shown onscreen that you’ll feel like ‘Why wasn’t I studying in such a picturesque school?’

Gaurav Chatterji and Ashish Zachariah’s music and background score are other low points of the show. There are scenes in the show where there is absolutely no background score, and it makes the long pauses feel uncomfortable. Considering the show is set up in a fictional town, it’s still amidst the hills. Therefore a lot more work into the background score could have helped bring out the necessary eerie feeling that was so needed for a thriller like ‘School Of Lies’.

The editing by Monisha R Baldawa is decent. She has kept the show crisp, which helps the storytelling to remain thrilling till the very end. However, the last episode could have been chopped off entirely and the closure could have been given in the 7th episode by extending it by another 10-15 minutes. Just in order to showcase that closure, there was no need to do an entire episode.

‘School Of Lies’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘School Of Lies’ is gripping and maintains its thrill till the very end. However, the twists and turns that you expect in a mysterious story like this are just too predictable, spoiling the mood at the very end. What’s interesting though is the cinematography, which is sheer beauty, and will keep you captivated all along. Aamir Bashir is damn good, but at the same time, Nimrat Kaur feels totally wasted. If you’re looking for a mysterious Mindbender of a show, just watch ‘Dark’ on Netflix and give ‘School Of Lies’ a pass. Overall, it’s just an Average Watch. I am going with 2.5 stars.