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Kota Factory 2 Review: Full Kota for the day!

The second season starts off in colour and then recedes to B&W, like the original, exuding the greyness of the lives up for display, while the teenagers grapple with self-doubt, love-sickness to everything else that teenagers do — regardless of where they are. Why should Kota be an exception? 

Kota Factory 2
on: Netflix
Dir: Raghav Subbu
Cast: Jitendra Kumar, Mayur More
Peddler Rating: 3.4/5


The curse of the second season will, of course, always exist. As it does for sequels in movies. Which seldom, if ever, match up to the love for the original. 

The second part naturally takes away the novelty of characters and world-building that drew you to a show, when you watched it the first time on; no? For instance, I don’t get how people are still going gaga over the fifth edition of Money Heist! 

Unless, of course, the drama shifts entirely elsewhere. Or the plot thickens so tight, that you simply can’t take your eyes off the screen — hence The Family Man 2, or Succession 2, being the rarest of a franchise that continued to get better with subsequent instalment. 

So I wouldn’t put too much weight on Kota Factory (KF) 2 not being as great as the first. Because, for that, one must appreciate what an incredible find for a show the original KF was/is in the first place!

Produced by TVF, predominantly a comedy collective, it premiered on YouTube among millions of videos uploaded every minute, in 2019. The show itself was effectively commissioned by a tutorial company to place their advertising all over. 

In the same way that, say, India’s first TV soap-opera Hum Log on Doordarshan in the ’80s, was originally commissioned by the government as a PSA (public service advertising) on family planning. Just as nobody remembers actor Ashok Kumar’s post-episode family planning Gyan in Hum Log, it is unlikely you’ll instantly recall Unacademy from KF! 

Such is how serendipity works. Ever since, through organic word-of-mouth online alone, KF rightly established itself as one of the most mature series on the lives of the studious, desi young — altogether graduating to Netflix by its second season, that is before us. The other instance of such a YouTube phenomenon is probably the rom-com, Little Things. What’s common between both shows? The authenticity — the feel and texture of the believably real; or realism, so to say.

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Striking off at one go, several time-tested tropes associated with small-town boys, attempting an entrance exam (in engineering/IIT, in this case) — as a one-way ticket to a better future. 

This rite of passage, when friends = family, is of course set in the coaching town of Kota in Rajasthan, where classes for JEE are held, and children leave their homes to enrol into competitive monasteries. In turn, the coaching institutes have a class system of their own.

Who plays the quasi parent in such a bereft ecosystem? A good teacher, obviously — a cross between a counsellor, pop philosopher, friend and guide; anchoring both this show and the students in it. Actor Jitendra Kumar plays this Jeetu Bhaiya — apparently modelled on a real-life, legendary physics teacher, one Nitin Vijay (NV Sir) from Kota. 

Jeetu Bhaiya similarly has acquired a cult status among the young since. Jitendra Kumar, effectively merging lines between actor and character, doesn’t disappoint one bit in the sequel either! 

Neither do the sweet boys and girls you were drawn towards, to begin with —whether it’s the smart kid from a village, Balmukund Meena (Ranjan Raj), the confident loafer Uday (Alam Khan), or the lead, Vaibhav Pandey (Mayur More). 

The second season starts off in colour and then recedes to B&W, like the original, exuding the greyness of the lives up for display, while the teenagers grapple with self-doubt, love-sickness to everything else that teenagers do — regardless of where they are. Why should Kota be an exception? 

If anything, going deeper into their lives, the show comes across as far less bleak, way more optimistic, than you’d expect. Since IIT and its preparations is not just an Indian sub-culture. It’s almost equally a sub-genre in films/series — right from 3 Idiots to Super 30 in Bollywood, Alma Matters for a documentary, or the deathly, dystopian Laakhon Mein Ek for a series!

Aspiring to be an engineer, even if most IITians pursue a separate, unrelated career eventually, isn’t such a fatally grim thing alone. KF 2 underlines this well enough, making a distinction between dreams and aim, detachment and disappointment. 

There is a line about peer pressure and a certain level of stress being good for you too. As Jeetu Bhaiya explains it best: If a line is the shortest distance between two points, and everyone has to take it anyway, you will do it with your peers, how else?

But of course, the setting’s the same. You’ve been here before. It’s called Kota Factory after all. As are the characters, and their dilemmas, and hopes/frustrations. The show does descend towards passages bordering on mom-type clichés sometimes, and even boring segments on coaching institute politics, to simply keep the plot running, pot boiling. 

Still, the fact is that the series, holding moments confidently (directed by Raghav Subbu), tightly packed into five episodes, averaging under 40 minutes (written by Saurabh Khanna), is good enough to keep you going, as an audience as well. The second season of TVF’s Hostel Daze (that dropped recently on Amazon Prime Video) was absolutely unwatchable in comparison, wasn’t it?

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