Bachhe 2 Saal Mein Kota Se Nikal Jate Hain, Kota Bachhon Se Nehi Nikalta
This line from a faculty sets the tone of India’s IIT-capital Kota (Rajasthan) in TVF’s latest show Kota Factory, which is about the lives of IIT-JEE aspirants. A middle-class boy who comes to Kota with a dream to crack the toughest entrance of India and fulfil parents’ ambition. Despite some similarities with Laakhon Mein Ek of Amazon Prime, Kota Factory is more natural, with some bright spots in the mentality of Kota culture. Creator Saurabh Khanna thinks that not everything in the ultracompetitive Kota culture is bad as there are studious kids who genuinely want to go to IITs and join a race of 9-to-5 jobs. Khanna and nearly 90% of the creative people in TVF are from IIT. A web-series channel that has been founded by 3 ex-IITians, Biswapati Sarkar, Arunabh Kumar and Amit Golani, has presented the contemporary educational environment in India’s premium coaching institutions and a whole city with utmost honesty.
The story revolves around a Vaibhav who comes from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, gets admitted in an IIT-coaching institute in Kota to crack the IIT entrance examination. He’s a good student but eventually realizes that everybody in Kota is academically good as well. He faces issues initially to get adapted in the environment, both physically (insomnia, constipation, food-related) and psychologically (frustration, lack of perseverance while studying, fatigue, burnout). However, his friends Meena, Uday and Shivangi are with him and brought him to their genius faculty Jeetendra Kumar aka Jeetu Bhaiya (yeah! The “JEETU BHAIYA of TVF). Jeetu Bhaiya is a ray of sunshine in their lives, their teacher, guide and mentor. Only 2 episodes have been out and the craze is real (more than 7 million and 3 million views on YouTube).
The dialogues in this series are on point. Be it ‘’Jab Kota Factory nehi, ‘Shahar’ Hua Karta tha”, ‘‘9th me Pokemon, 10th me PubG or 11th me Kota”, or “Kal to bada Kejriwal ban Raha tha, Mujhe Mauka Do, Main Kar Dikhaunga”(Epic dig). Every dialogue is real and fits the context. There’s a scene where Vaibhav’s mother calls him every night and asks the same question if he likes to be there, to which he gets irritated as he cannot sleep, feels restless and frustrated. One night he falls asleep after studying and getting acclimatized to the culture slowly. His phone keeps on ringing. His mother on the other end says “Ab Iska Man Lag Gaya“, it’s so touching. The mentor and teacher Jeetu bhaiya when says that the films about IIT don’t represent the reality, “IITs me Chatur nehi jate, sirf Rancho hi jaate hain“(We all have seen 3 Idiots), it destroys all the myths of the IIT culture shown in popular TV and movies.
Cast, Screenplay, and Direction
Raghav Subbu as director and Saurabh Khanna as a writer are the assets of this show. Mayur More as Vaibhav, Jeetendra Kumar as Jeetu Bhaiya, Ranjan Raj as Meena (my favourite of all), Alam Khan as Uday and Ahsaan Channa as Shivangi are nice and apt on their parts. As an audience, you can connect with their situations and understand their difficulties. The black and white show reflects the hardships of aspirants as they get isolated from the real world while being in these institutes. The screenplay, cinematography and editing are compact without any loose ends as of now.
The background music is haunting and suitable to capture the essence. ‘Yaaron’ by Ankur Tewari needs special mention. It stays with the audience.
Wow or Blah
- Kota Factory is the first Indian show to be shot in complete black and white and the most positive thing is after 10 minutes, viewers forget that. The story and plot line are so engrossing.
- It shows the dark sides of the coaching institutes, be it their mechanical mindset, money minting agenda, same topper’s picture on every institute’s billboard advertisements.
- At the end of the 2 episodes, there lies a feeling of positivity and this is what makes it different from the other shows in this genre. Studious kids are also there in the real world.
- The frequent mention of Unacademy (started by Roman Saini, UPSC topper), one of the most popular educational app in India and the partner of TVF in this series makes the audience realize the opportunity and benefits of online learning platforms as well.
For me, there’s no blah in these two episodes as of now. Let the series roll in. Catch the trailer here