Meet the cast behind the classmates of the new Indian drama series Class. 

After delighting fans around the world, the Spanish teen drama Élite is being reimagined out of India with Class. The new backdrop is the Hampton International School in New Delhi and the halls are filled with just as much intrigue, crisis, and romance as Élite’s Las Encinas. Dheeraj, Saba, and Balli are the new kids in class, transferring in on scholarships from a poor neighborhood after their school was burned down, and their entrance into the social scene of Hampton leads to deadly consequences. Led by showrunner Ashim Ahluwalia, Class is a gripping examination of culture, money, friendship, and love fueled by the passion of adolescence. Here, the actors of Class introduce us to their characters in their own words and give us a glimpse of their Netflix queues. 


Actor Piyush Khati leans against a desk in a navy and gray school uniform, holding a book and smiling at the camera.

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Dheeraj is kind of a naysayer-ignorer. He sees the possibilities, he sees the many chances in life. There is a lot of emotional baggage in his life, where he comes from. But still, he sees light at the end of the tunnel. Also, his thinking is quite pragmatic because he has seen a lot of things, but at the same time, there is a lot of innocence. He might be judging things, but he hasn’t tried it all. 

His journey is realization and redemption. Realization happens when whatever he has been thinking, like, I will go to this school, these will be friends, I will become like them, doesn’t happen. Then he makes some mistakes, like when he robs, because the problems in his life are so important and there is so much pressure. Then he thinks that he should be managing all of that as well. So somehow in every situation, in every circumstance, I believe he changes. There are so many shades of him. You won’t see a consistency in the way he lives. He’s always very impulsive but that impulsiveness is ruled by so many thoughts which are somehow conventional patterns followed by everyone out here in the world. Deep down, deep inside the core of his heart, he’s a very innocent guy. He loves everyone; he respects everyone.


Saba (Madhyama Segal) wears a grey shirt with an orange cat wearing a blue bowtie. She wears a pink scarf covering her head and neck.

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In the beginning of the show, Saba enters a completely new world, a new school. It’s very different from what she’s been used to in the past. She’s a shy, reserved sort of person. When it comes to her journey in school or how she presents herself, it is very similar to how she is at home with her family. She obviously comes from a conservative background, so that is reflected. She opens up as the show progresses. She definitely becomes a person who is more out there, more expressive about her emotions, about what she thinks. These are feelings that any young adult would go through. But as a character, I don’t think Saba has had the freedom to really come into her own or to really express herself exactly the way she wants to. I relate to Saba, in some ways, because the contained feelings that you see in her are pretty similar to how I might have been, or sometimes still am. 


Balli (Cwaayal Sing) wears a mostly unbuttoned green shirt with patches and a dark necklace.

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Balli is a Delhi boy. He is street-smart and very confident. He likes to bluff a lot and is a womanizer. He is one of the scholarship kids, but he is not great in academics. One of his major reasons for entering this school is to hang out with the cool kids and be one of them. He is really passionate about earning money and getting famous. Initially, there is an impression of a funny and sweet Balli. However, later the audience will realize that he knows how to get his work done and what he is here for. He’s a layered character which you get a hold of as you see his journey. I honestly don’t relate to the character since I prefer to stay away from people like Balli in real life. I am a person who believes in spirituality and respects women a lot, while Balli treats women like objects. Apart from this, I am not a big fan of protein shakes or the gym, but for Balli, I added 6-7 kilos and maintained the same weight for over three years. I even had to work on my dialect by listening to Haryanvi songs and had a workshop for about two to three days.


Neeraj (Gurfateh Pirzada) wears a brown shirt and black apron, and cooks in a dark kitchen.

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Neeraj’s a regular guy, he’s just a misunderstood one. You look at him, you might think that he’s up to some shit, but he’s probably not. He’s just someone who’s trying to make a living. He’s trying to earn a buck and to just have a fair shot, which he probably won’t get; he’ll have to fight for it. He’ll have to put down his foot and be like, I want to do this, because if he’s standing in a line, he’s probably gonna get chucked out. He doesn’t have the leeway. I am not from that kind of background, so I can never understand that. Which is exactly why I wanted to tap into it. Because, I mean, we’ve all been in those kinds of situations at some point. Some people would say being an actor is very hard if you’re not from a film family. So substituting these kinds of emotions is what led me to like playing Neeraj, someone who doesn’t get a fair shot at life. 


Suhani (Anjali Sivaraman) wears her school uniform: grey skirt with two white stripes along the hem, white shirt, grey plaid tie, navy blazer, and blue lanyard.

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I can definitely relate to her. I love her a lot. I drew parallels from my own childhood to hers. I wouldn’t say mine was as extreme, but I was bullied in school. So I really resonated with her character. She’s really brave, strong, and strongly opinionated. She knows what she wants and goes after it. I really like that about her. Her character arc is really beautiful because it starts off with her being from a troubled family, always being the outcast, and trying to find her own way in the world, trying to figure out how to just survive and find happiness. Then she grows up a little and starts to find her own place in the world, she starts to find happiness, she starts to make friends with people that she actually gets along with, people who she generally feels understand her — and it’s not very often that she has had that in life. When she finally figures out what she wants, her world starts to implode on her because I guess that’s the world of Class.


Yashika (Ayesha Kanga) wears an off-the-shoulder blue cocktail dress, long diamond earrings, and a sparkly belt.

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Yashika is an extremely driven and persistent girl. She’s not as privileged as a lot of kids in her batch, though outwardly it may seem like she is. She’s had to work for everything that she has. She doesn’t receive a lot of validation from her family. Her parents have almost absconded, so she seeks validation externally through social media and from her classmates by wearing a lot of garish clothes. Her online life and her followers are everything to her. You understand more about Yashika after you’re introduced to her parents and her life at home. I think she is misunderstood. She has a lot to do in terms of working on herself, but she’s absolutely brilliant. She’s so intelligent. I think slowly she realizes to let her guard down, to trust the women in her life. I think Yashika is really relatable because this is the first time she’s going through loss and heartbreak and heartache and I think these are all very relatable feelings. She is realizing slowly that it’s not just what you show on the outside, but what you are on the inside that really matters.


Koel (Naina Bhan) wears her school uniform: a white shirt, grey plaid tie, and navy blazer. She rests her arm on her desk and looks at the camera with attitude.

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I feel like the writers and the directors have really given Koel a chance to come into her own and I’m really grateful for that. Coming into the series, she’s just this girl who is just having sex all the time. What is her purpose? And then suddenly, you see this girl who’s heavily guarded, who, when you really test her mettle, pulls through life. If Koel was a boy, it would not be a contest: She would take over her father’s business, and there would never be a problem. And even though she’s a girl from a really rich family, she’s never taken seriously in that role, but she’s actually a badass. To come in, you start by thinking she’s this uncomplicated girl, born with money, but all the turmoil kind of shapes her into this extremely strong person by the end of it. I’ve had so much time to grow with her. When I started the show, I was very apologetic and I wanted to always make sure everybody else was comfortable. Through Koel I actually learned how to be a lot more self-confident and unapologetic and push for myself, because you realize that the only person looking out for you, is you. So you need to push yourself forward.

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