Kota Factory season 2 review: Well-crafted sequel passes with distinction

Rating: 4.5/5

‘Kota factory’ season 2 follows the trials and tribulations of an IIT aspirant, Vaibhav Pandey (Mayur More), with a lens on the environment and culture of coaching centres across the Indian city of Kota.

Story

Picking up from the end of season 1, Vaibhav has switched from Prodigy Classes to Maheshwari classes. The IIT aspirant is in for an unpleasant surprise when Maheshwari, himself, turns out to be a ruthless head.

Meanwhile, Jeetu Bhaiya (Jitendra Kumar) has resigned as the Physics professor at Prodigy Classes after deciding to open his own coaching centre in Kota.

While the first season served as more of an introduction for Vaibhav, as well as the viewers through his perspective, to the life of a student preparing for the JEE exam, this season tackles a wider set of scenarios.

Vaibhav and his friends must overcome multiple hurdles, be it a teacher whose methods they do not understand or the fear of sickness during the all-important exams.

More characters’ arcs are given attention in season 2, as the viewers get more insight into other characters apart from Vaibhav.

Performances

Jitendra Kumar stands out yet again. There’s just something magical about his character, Jeetu Bhaiya, and how the actor manages to make him so charismatic. He makes you wish you had a teacher like him during your days as a student.

Jeetu Bhaiya is not just some perfect professor who has all the answers. Every bit of his advice is empathetic, borne out of experiences, since he was in the place of Vaibhav and his friends once, as well.

Mayur More is excellent as well as the newly optimistic Vaibhav. While the character was a bit apprehensive in the first season after stepping foot into uncharted territory, he is much more comfortable in the environment now and it shows in the character’s slight change of personality.

Ranjan Raj, as Balmukund Meena, is sure to be a fan favourite again, providing the much needed comic relief. Meena and Uday, played by Alam Khan, are a constant source of much-needed humour, contrasting the many significant issues being tackled along the way.

Revathi Pillai, as Vartika, and Ahsaas Channa, as Shivangi, hold their own, but are given less screen time compared to other characters.

Sameer Saxena’s character, the ruthless Maheshwari, is not a shallow antagonist with no personality. He actually talks sense at times and has no qualms in giving due respect to Jeetu. Saxena pulls off the harsh aura and the different side of his character expertly.

There’s also a cameo by Naveen Kasturia, and you’ll be left disappointed that there isn’t more of him in the season. He and Jeetu have an undeniable synergy that the makers should be pushing.

Positives

The biggest strength of Kota Factory season 2 is the massive level of relatability it offers, appealing to all age groups alike; some studying currently and others reminiscing the days of school books and classrooms.

But it’s not a shallow attempt at nostalgia unlike some movies and shows out there that barely scratch the surface and you’re constantly thinking they don’t even act like students. No matter what issues you faced as a student, Kota Factory is bound to address some with remarkable accuracy and empathy.

The humour is on point. TVF is known for creating light-hearted shows and Kota Factory is right up its alley. The capable fusion of comedy and drama elevates the series and that’s why it has been well received across demographics.

Another huge strength is the dialogues. Each time Jeetu Bhaiya gears up for a piece of advice, you just know as a viewer that you’ll be swept away. He’s not just talking to the characters, if you’re a student, he’s reaching out to you as well.

With the influence of his character, it was important for him to tell the students and the viewers that it’s completely fine if you do not crack the IIT entrances, which he does in this season. The emphasis is given to the attempt and not the result. The attempt is what makes you stronger.

A plethora of issues faced by students is swept under the rug, rarely getting cinematic representation. Kota Factory season 2 single-handedly attempts to address many, and in a realistic manner. Nothing is too awkward for the creators. As Jeetu Bhaiya puts it: “Just because it’s uncomfortable, does it mean we shouldn’t talk about it?” A question that would force the stiffest of individuals to introspect.

Raghav Subbu is well aware of how to make the audience laugh as well as tug at their heartstrings, provided the arsenal by a set of competent writers: Saurabh Khanna, Abhishek Yadav, Puneet Batra and Manoj Kalwani. After a first outing that captivated many, they bring many of the same qualities and turn the notch up one level.

The cinematography has improved from the first season, predictably so, considering it’s now on Netflix and not YouTube. But it doesn’t undermine the better view that the audience gets of Kota, especially those who have never visited.

The music is exquisite and unique. The students don’t burst into songs with impeccably synced dance moves that interrupt the narrative. Instead, the tunes are used as a musical representation of the narrative.

Additionally, the shift to a streaming platform allows the makers to create a smoother narrative. No intrusive ads are needed to sustain the series, meaning no abruption along the journey.

Starting the series with colour and transitioning to the black and white colour scheme after Vaibhav’s visible disappointment and concern listening to Maheshwari’s speech is a nice touch.

The show is an exceptional example of serving entertainment, but what sets it apart is its importance. Kota Factory season 2 educates you in subtle ways. It’s encouraging to see creators with depth in thinking rising up the ladder. The more the bar is raised, the better the entertainment industry creates.

Negatives

With the vast student issues that the series tackles, the primary narrative sometimes takes a back seat. However, even the sub-plots are not at all dull and serve their own purpose.

Worth it?

Kota Factory is one of the best shows the country has to offer, and the second season is an upgrade if anything. And with Netflix, it’s out there for the world to view. The only reason to be upset is the meagre five episodes a season.

Watch it for the brilliant portrayal of student life, high entertainment quotient, engaging storyline and the pearls of wisdom bestowed by the endearing Jeetu Bhaiya.


Also Read: Mumbai Diaries 26/11 review: Rip-roaring and poignant tale of bravery

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