In shows created by TVF, some things are universally striking: ingenuity and research. Whether it is the world of siblings struggling to keep their bond together in Tripling, or young engineers trying their hand at having a startup in Pitchers, the content, characters and dialogues reflect a deep understanding of that milieu.
It has been more than a year since the first season of Kota Factory Season 1 was released, yet some of its scenes are edged in my memory. Kota or the center of preparation of middle-class dreams is authentically portrayed here. In the first episode when Vaibhav arrives in Kota to seek admission in Maheshwari classes and drags himself through different coaching centers, the unease is infectious.
The monotony, the pressure, the stifling crowd of students that made Kota a factory was so unique and well represented that it made us fall in love with the show. The beginning, to learning to survive in Kota, to preparation breaks and finally Meena’s emotional dialogue while Vaibhav leaves for Maheshwari classes. “Dosti koi revision thodi hai jo Karna hi hai,” Kota Factory created a fanbase.
With this legacy, one clicks at Kota Factory Season 2 ready to be a part of this familiar world again. Many things have changed, Vaibhav is now a student of Maheshwari classes. He has found a new Meena, just “not that good in studies.” Although written by the same writers Abhishek Yadav and Saurabh Khanna, along with Puneet Btara and Manoj Kalwani, season two doesn’t quite create the same magic.
From confusion to female representation in IIT to the competition among teachers, periods, controlling raging teenagers, the research is evident here. Yet, these key plot points fail to deliver a narrative satisfaction that the first season did. It feels almost as though the story was built around these issues and the narrative doesn't feel seamless or as unique as season 1
But how bad can a TVF show be?! Mayur More as Vaibhav, Ranjan Raj as Balmukund Meena, and Revathi Pillai as Vartka are relatable as teenagers. The literal and metaphorical monotone of Kota’s coaching life still seeps through, although not in equal measure. Students, dressed similarly struggle to take notes in a class of hundreds. Millennials who took coaching classes ever know the emptiness of not having finished a DPP when the whole class is discussing the answers aloud.
Jeetu Bhaiya, as the best physics teacher and life coach, is still as convincing. When Vaibhav’s new friend suddenly feel baffled under the question “Sirf IIT hi kyu,” Jeetu bhaiya in his casual wisdom replies, “IIT isliye karo kyunki tough hai, aur tough battle ladne mein, life mein confidence aata hai.” Vartika’s reluctance in appearing for practice tests as they would shatter her confidence is also a relatable angle. Among the new introductions, I personally liked Rajesh Kumar as Gagan sir.
The climax is a magnified peek into judgement day at Kota: the day of IIT results. It opens the avenue of what would happen when Vaibhav and friends themselves take the plunge. Upon being asked if there would be a third season to Kota Factory, director Raghav Subbu replied, “We know who gets into IIT and who doesn’t.”