Kota Factory, the TVF original which now has a second season on Netflix, is a very raw yet smoothened depiction of the world of competitive exams. For a lot of people, this will be a series of Dejavu moments. For some, it will be insightful, and for some, this series is almost like a warning. What I found interesting about this series is that it is not undermining the glory of IIT, and at the same time, it is not becoming a commercial for IITs. If teens watch this series, they would definitely contemplate the need to be an IITian rather than joining the bandwagon.
Season 2 now has Vaibhav Pandey moving to Maheshwari Classes and Jeethu Bhaiyya starting his own institute. The boys are getting more serious about the main exam, and at the same time, they are about to face a new set of struggles. From emotional insecurities to physical health, there is a new list of problems in front of them and what we see in the second season is how they deal with all that stuff.
There is diversity in the character pool of this series which really makes it relatable at many points. Everyone is dealing with the burden of expectations in one form or the other. Even if you were someone who ruined your precious years trying for these competitive exams, this series would acknowledge the pain you might have gone through. The savior character of the show, Jeethu Bhaiyya, repeats this dialogue in multiple instances that he is not anxious about toppers, and he is only concerned about how the average ones will deal with rejections. The show’s emphasis on those who feel left out and rejected is what makes it impactful.
Created by Saurabh Khanna and directed by Raghav Subbu, there is a great craft value to the series, in my opinion. The cinematography yet again uses the monochrome color setting, which never really looks dull. In fact, the darks and bright contrast convey the drama of a scene much more effectively. Jerin Paul’s work masterfully uses static frames, and there are multiple instances where they break the 180-degree rule to show that things have changed (Vaibhav and Vartika’s first meeting in season 2 and the scene where Jeethu Bhaiyya invites Sarika to the institution). The frames have this amazing symmetry and precision, which is quite rare in our creations. Editing being evident is usually considered a demerit. But for some reason, I found the match cuts and gentle elevation of scenes happening on the edit table quite exciting. The soundtracks are nicely blended into the narrative.
Mayur More is less animated compared to season 1 and was able to convey the character’s anxieties neatly. Ranjan Raj as Meena gets a better spotlight this time, and I loved that the series approached adolescent confusions without any inhibition. Jithendra Kumar, as Jeetu Bhaiyya, is that charmer and has that believable energy and attitude in him. Revathi Pillai as Varthika gets to play a livelier version of her character. And Ahsaas Channa was hilarious as Shivangi. Alam Khan as Uday becomes a bit too eccentric in comparison to the first season, while the opposite happened with Urvi Singh as Meenal.
In terms of the politics it wants to convey, the series isn’t perfect. They aren’t striving too much to be politically correct. There are scenes in the series that want to talk about gender-based problems and needs. But then again, you also see this age-old stereotype (or reality) of depicting mothers as the sacrificing person of the family. But the real focus is on the world of competitive exams, and the season ends in a way that we become concerned about the lead characters similar to Jeetu Bhaiyya.
The show's emphasis on those who feel left out and rejected is what makes it impactful.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended