Web Series

Kota Factory Season 2 Review: Mirror of Life

By Anjali

The Viral Fever (TVF) is back with the sequel of Kota Factory after the huge success of the first season. In the last decade, our youth has started celebrating the ones who go out of the way, follow their passion, brush aside the “so-called” traditional career path, and evangelize that the path chosen by them is their bread-n-butter which will ultimately lead them to a happy and peaceful life. Although, the real world doesn’t seem the same. The susceptible teenagers who are growing up amid this new wave are still opting for JEE and struggling to muddle along. Streaming the previous season on YouTube, and making a comeback on Netflix, Kota Factory Season 2 is something that is a coming-of-age journey. This is not something like a fantasy world of a child who wants to give up on boring professions and choose a “world of dreams”. This adult-to-be population aspires to be better at academics and stand out in their exams. Overall, they are too young to know any better, but they are not walking on an unknown path. All they are trying to do is ask the right questions, and develop an informed opinion.

Season 2 is up on Netflix and all in order. The nuts and bolts that keep Netflix’s Kota Factory clacking are still pretty well-oiled. Kota Factory’s naturalistic, the monochromatic heart continues to be in fine trim as it captures and responds to the daily struggles of IIT aspirants from across India who come to the Rajasthan town every year to prepare themselves for the Joint Entrance Examination. The lead characters have to confront all manner of spanners that are thrown in the works as much by external factors like institute’s rules, non-favorable quality of teachers, challenges of different subjects, FOMO, as by purely internal ones. The most appropriate among them is the growing sense of inadequacy and unease that pops up on the candidates as D-Day draws close and the fear of failure grips them. The show created by ArunabhKumar, Saurabh Khanna, and Raghav Subbu (also the director), is yet again like a long-winded movie that runs three hours and a bit and transports the audience bang into the center of a wobbly world that we read about a great deal but actually know very little about.

The show scrutinizes young minds as they steer hope and expectations of their own and those of others in a manner that is gentle and grounded. Kota Factory Season 2, like the first season, is a must-watch. The young cast is terrific and even more eye-catching it was the first time around. Every character does her/his effort to make the show realistic and appealing. Each component be it the drama, the emotions, unadulterated romance, and the workings of Kota’s high-pressure coaching centers, the storyline was as perfect as a Darjeeling tea. All thanks to the writers who managed to throw an impact in each frame. Also, it seeks to create flashpoints where matters come to a head and trigger alarms as much as they encourage self-introspection.

Talking about the character Vaibhav Pandey (Mayur More) has made the shift to Maheshwari Classes but easing into the town’s premier coaching center is anything but easy. On the other side, his favorite Physics teacher Jeetu Bhaiya (Jitendra Kumar) has left Prodigy Classes and embarked on a project to create his own institute. The two moves depict the story of the word “Factory” in Kota Factory. Also, the departure of JeetuBhaiya from Prodigy Classes leaves the fellow students restless. But their excitement knows no bounds when they learn that Jeetu Bhaiya is planning to open his own branch and teach his old students for free. Reasons to love JeetuBhaiya is not his exceptional teaching methods but his amiable pep talks work wonders too. And, the impact is visible on Balmukund Meena (Ranjan Raj), whose issues go beyond the academic and bestride guilt which is associated with carnal thoughts. The same goes for Vaibhav. His sweet-n-sour romance with Vartika Ratawal (Revathi Pillai) helps the Itarsi Boy take his mind off the pressure which he gets after getting into Maheshwari a year late. Their mates, Uday Gupta (Alam Khan), Meenal Parekh (Urvi Singh), Balmukund, and Shivangi Ranawat (Ahsaas Channa), who jumps in when Balmukund needs an agony aunt, serve as sounding boards not only for Vaibhav and Vartika but also for each other when the going gets tough. 

The group of six has gender parity, but misogyny is otherwise deeply ingrained in Vaibhav’s new coaching institute. Maheshwari Sir (Sameer Saxena), as he addresses an orientation session who enrolled a year late in the hall are Vaibhav and his new “Meena”, Sushrut Patel (Vaibhav Thakkar) who couldn’t understand why he needs IIT? And Maheshwari Sir says, “The world is swarming with unsuccessful men with talent. There are only successful men. The unsuccessful ones are not men”. And, before making this statement he divulges his unalloyed prejudice. How you tariff here in Maheshwari Classes will determine what kind of house, car, and wife will come your way in the future. The show, which opens up with a brief prelude in color and then turns black and white before the opening credits of the first episode, addresses the gender disparity at the heart of the IIT admission system. Here comes our Jeetu Bhaiya who approaches a female faculty for his coaching institute “Aimers”, because he wants the girls to open up like guys. But the truth is that the one who makes everyone smile also suffers in the meantime. Jeetu Bhaiya also faces teething troubles. Although, like a tough man he does not pass on the stress that he is under to his students. He aims to be a mentor to those that may not be born toppers and are unprepared for unpleasant jostling. And, the never-ending life-affirming sessions of Jeetu Bhaiya give a vision to the show. 

The show brings out the blazing contrast between the ruthlessly performance-oriented and profit-centric approach of the coaching institutes, also the infinitely more humane methodology adopted by Jeetu Bhaiya. And, to top it all he doesn’t just teach, he makes us develop a feel for the subject. This season extends its non-judgmental, observational portrait of a coaching hub where many are in constant danger of developing cold feet and falling by the wayside. It is a series that stands for reel life equal to real life just like you stand in front of the mirror.

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