Hostel Daze (Season 4)
Farhad Dalal(BE, Biomedical Engineering)
Onto the next new ‘midweek’ release, and I finished watching the fourth and final season of the TVF show Hostel Daze which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The show over the past three seasons has seen a tonal shift, from being edgy and raw to slowly tilting towards nostalgia. Yes, it did also see an actor opting out only to be replaced with another, so the show has been through its fair share of highs and lows. But what has been consistent with the show is the trademark TVF magic that has struck a chord with me.
I have always opined that my Engineering days were the best days of my life simply because it gave me a bunch of goofy friends(and one of them is the other pillar of Popcorn Reviewss, proudly so), while presenting with innumerous moments that have lingered on as memories over the years which have passed. Yet, going into the final season of Hostel Daze did make me skeptical given that the earlier show of TVF College Romance has ended on such a low, that it had then given me an impression that the production house just wanted to get done with the show! And I was fearing a similar fate with the final season of Hostel Daze which was expected to be nostalgic. So then does the final season of Hostel Daze manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The fourth and final season of Hostel Daze follows the story of the beloved gang who find themselves in the final year of engineering, in what is a classic phase of transition in life where the big bad world awaits them. Will they form memories, one last time? The story here is high on nostalgia and relatability, with a conscious effort made to make a tonal shift in the series one final time! And this was the logical conclusion as it also dealt with the characters of the show coming of age, or rather to terms with life hitting them. I do remember my final year and almost clueless on what life had in store for me, and the series does touch upon this aspect as well in a wonderfully penned story. The screenplay standing at 6 episodes ranging from 30 odd minutes to 50 minutes does make for an extremely nostalgic ride that made me laugh, and at times shed a tear or two along the way!
The drama does begin with the reintroduction of the principal characters and the dynamics which they shared from the last season. And I did feel that this was an indifferent kind of a start simply because the focus was on the love angle from the third season. I was like, there we go again, another show is headed the College Romance way. But slowly but surely, my sentiments around the show began to change. With every passing minute, the tonal shift in the content was clear, with the nostalgia kicking in. The transition from the third year of Engineering to the fourth year is often tricky given that you have been carefree, not too worried about your future, when suddenly, you have to make a decision about life – whether to opt for further studies or take up a job. It was a challenging period for me as well, and these aspects are beautifully highlighted on the show!
The proceedings are entertaining but there is a sense of maturity with respect to the characters who slowly come of age by shouldering some responsibility. Right from making resumes to appearing for campus placements(amidst fights on the side wherein you have to stand up for yourself and your gang), the series does take you on a memorable nostalgic ride which did transport me to the good ol’ days. But during this period, the levels of anxiety often fluctuate at times with respect to the confidence of cracking an interview, or the package being offered or peer pressure. And each of these anxieties is addressed wonderfully well with the emotions just hitting home and how! Quite honestly, this is where the drama did peak for me while allowing me space to shed a tear or two. The bonding of the gang during this group was infectious and quite emotional!
While I did feel that the drama has already attained its peak, there was still an episode left, and that made me slightly anxious on whether the peak could be achieved again. But the final episode was just so emotional with the members of the gang separating one by one, thus marking the end of era. This is generally what happens, each one heads on their own paths, only to coincide in life at some point. But it is the friendship that remains for a lifetime with a bundle of memories. And the shots did make me cry while I was reminiscing my final days in college, the days that I had fun, had fights, made memories, and that is all that remains! I wasn’t fully convinced of the meta-reference at the end which kind of took me out of the nostalgic moment. But taking nothing away from the journey, the screenplay is extremely well written and makes for such a nostalgic ride down memory lane!
Idea Pitch(What Lies Next For The Characters) :
Every now and then, I love doing this additional section in my reviews. This cannot be the end of the journey for all the characters. And so if anyone from TVF is reading this, then this is a pitch for a new idea. What if, atleast one of the characters of the show find themselves in the ‘Cubicles’ Universe, given that a few of them do land up with corporate jobs(like Jhaantoo and Jaat). That would be a fun mix of the universes! What do you say TVF??
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty while being measured in humour and drama, both of which contribute to the nostalgia quotient so well. The music is wonderfully integrated in the drama, like is the case with all TVF productions. The BGM represents the different moods of the drama as well, by beautifully complimenting the proceedings. The cinematography brilliantly captures the vibe of the drama, by also accounting for the nostalgia which is prevalent throughout. To give you a perspective, there is a frame involving three balloons that represents the three characters while the fourth one is headed home for the final time! Beautiful indeed! Also the final scene involving two characters exchanging their t-shirts was emotional to the core! The editing is crisp and sharp right throughout the show. Director Abhinav Anand is an engineer himself, and so it definitely did work to his advantage. He tactfully created relatable moments which were a far cry from the raw and edgy moments of the previous seasons. There was a genuine effort to create nostalgia and the direction definitely hit home with the emotions that were created. The direction is top notch here.
The performances are outstanding by the ensemble cast. The age old template of TVF inviting different actors to play the narrators and break the fourth wall, is a winner of a format in my eyes. And they resort to that beautifully with talented actors like Faizal Malik, Avinash Thapliyal, Gopal Datt, Deven Bhojani and Jaimini Pathak filling in. Harsha Chemudu as Ravi has a nice little character arc that starts off with being a trouble-maker to slowly ending on a quiet little emotional note. And he did a wonderful job in a character which wasn’t quite in the comic space. Khushboo Arjwani as Prerana has her moments to shine with a nice little screen presence despite a limited screen time.
Sahil Verma as Raakhi is sincere and delivers quite a heartfelt performance. Utsav Sarkar as Ankit has improved leaps and bounds from his previous season wherein he had replaced Adarsh Gourav(which were big shoes to fill). I feel here, he looked totally at home wherein he did get a chance to showcase his range. He was wonderful to watch. Ayushi Gupta as Nabomita does evolve as the season unfolds, beginning on a frivolous note to finally showing maturity. And she is brilliant in a charming act wherein she comes off age! Shubham Gaur as Jaat is well restrained and showcases his vulnerability wonderfully well. His little reunion with Rrajesh from Mens XP was a homage in itself.
Luv Vispute as Chirag is such an adorable character who shines right throughout the show. His vulnerability lies in not wanting to lose the love of his life, only to be willing to give up his dream job for it, and he expresses this feeling beautifully. Ahsaas Channa as Akanksha is probably the most assured and assertive character of the lot, and she does an incredible job. Her body languages and mannerisms enhance her character to a different level. Nikhil Vijay as Jhaantoo is a revelation here. From starting off as a carefree, joint smoking guy to finally coming off age by taking a stand for his friends, and getting out of his comfort zone while presenting an emotional streak at the end, he is absolutely brilliant on the show. The emotions that he brings to the table are beautiful indeed in an endearing act for the ages!
The fourth and final season of Hostel Daze is a nostalgic ride of the highest order with the trademark TVF magic sprinkled throughout. As they say, save the best for last and that is exactly what TVF has done here. I will miss this gang as I bid farewell to what has been a wonderful show across the four seasons with a fitting finale. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended!