Amber Girls School: Mixtape to the noughties

City-based actor Kajol Chugh plays a spirited elder sister in the relatable coming-of-age comedy drama Amber Girls School – a nostalgic trip to the past
Amber Girls School: Mixtape to the noughties

BENGALURU: Remember those coded text messages you snuck past watchful teachers? The rush of first crushes? The whispered anxieties of a world still discovering itself? In an era of mind-numbing social media feeds, where connections seem endless yet loneliness thrives, Amber Girls School – a Hindi-language coming-of-age comedy-drama series, starring city-based actor Kajol Chugh, transports you back to these simpler, yet surprisingly complex, memories – a mixtape come to life.

Set in Chandigarh in 2008, the show follows Ojaswini, a 15-year-old student, as she navigates her ambitions, friendships, a blossoming crush, and the everyday challenges of being a teenager.

“When I picked up the script, it felt fresh,” Chugh says, recalling her initial reaction to reading the script. For her, the show’s ability to evoke strong nostalgia is at the heart of its appeal. “It takes you back to that era, which is nostalgic in a harsh way because India was facing a recession.

But it was also an exciting time because the country was opening up to the world faster than ever. It was a mix of feelings. Primarily, the show is light and fun, reminiscent of our own school days – how strict the teachers were – and it also explores the struggles across different ages.

The script highlights female characters during an economic period in India when films and TV usually only talked about trivial domestic issues. It also addresses issues that weren’t talked about openly back then, but are part of routine conversations now,” she adds.

A still from the show
A still from the show

For Chugh, who portrays Ojas’ elder sister, the show marks a departure from the bubbly, carefree characters that she’s known for in the past, to a more grounded, ambitious character. “During the auditions, I felt like I was channelling my older sister! And that helped me connect with the character. She knows her priorities and justifies her actions to herself, which I think many can relate to,” she adds.

Currently trending on Amazon MiniTV, Amber Girls School has received praise for its emotional depth and its raw, unfiltered look at the lives of young girls who challenge and break free from societal norms. Chugh says the show is like sitting with your loved ones, where any conversation feels safe. “It’s warm and wholesome, yet it also addresses issues, promising redemption.

It’s like looking back on life, which only makes sense in retrospect,” she says, adding, “The show serves as a reflection of the time passed. It discusses themes and situations that were only whispered about at home back then but are openly discussed today. Watching the show feels normal now, but those topics weren’t approached openly in 2008. It’s a great conversation starter in a family setting.”

Meanwhile, despite it’s themes, Amber Girls School has a broad appeal. “There are plenty of series about school life, many of my friends who were initially sceptical about another school series found it engaging because it speaks to a wider age group. Even parents in their 40s and 50s enjoy the show as it gives them a perspective on how they treated their kids and maybe what could have been done differently,” Chugh adds.

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The New Indian Express
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