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Review: Kota Factory 3 Gets Darker

June 21, 2024 14:39 IST
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The new season takes the students out of their preoccupation with studies to other problems -- jealousy of another's easy success, a blip in a romance, financial crunch, meltdowns, discovers Deepa Gahlot.


When the first season of Kota Factory came out in 2019, it brought the Rajasthan city to the notice of audiences, who may not have been aware of the intense competition and soul-crushing slog that goes into the preparation for entrance exams of elite engineering and medical courses.

Getting in means success and financial stability for the whole family.

The flip side is the fear of failure that has led to an inordinately high number of suicides among the coaching class students of Kota.

Subsequently, this grim reality of youngsters cracking under the pressure of expectations and shattering of dreams has been making it to the news.

The solutions, like locking terraces or putting springs in fans, hardly tackle the actual core of the issue: The shortcoming of the Indian education system.

TVF's Web series went into the classrooms and hostel digs of Kota but sanitised the air of anxiety that must permeate the walls of the commercial coaching classes for whom topping exams is more important than the mental or spiritual health of the students.


Then there was Jeetubhaiya (Jitendra Kumar), who was different: The popular physics teacher, with an aphorism for every crisis.

It was in Season 2 that a suicide occurred and in Season 3, directed by Pratish Mehta, that Jeetubhaiya is assailed by self-doubt (and recurring mould on his walls) that leads to therapy.

The star teacher of Kota had, in the last season, started his own institute called Aimers because he always told his students not to dream but to aim, as dreams are just seen but aims are meant to be achieved.

In Kota Factory Season 3, also in black and white like the earlier two, the same core group of students returns, to carry forward the plot from coaching to the make-or-break exam.

The fine bunch of actors include Vaibhav (Mayur More), Balmukund Meena (Ranjan Raj), Uday (Alam Khan), Vartika (Revathi Pillai) and Shivani (Ahsaas Channa).

A new character is added in the form of Poojadidi (Tillotama Shome), whose approach to teaching is like Jeetubhaiya's -- make the kids feel for the subject, not just pass.

The new season takes them out of their preoccupation with studies to other problems -- jealousy of another's easy success, a blip in a romance, financial crunch, meltdowns -- but the focus shifts from the students to Jeetubhaiya's angst (which gives the actor more performance challenges).

He becomes aware that he takes on too much of the emotional burden of the students, trying to be the balm for everyone's bruises, and something's got to give.

Meanwhile, reality gets darker, the education system more toxic, its purveyors more avaricious.

Jeetubhaiya may fly off the handle when a colleague (Rajesh Kumar) suggests that they focus on the brightest students but even to his own ears, his words about making the effort regardless of the results sound hollow.

Because the coaching classes of Kota and the town itself flourishes because it promises toppers.

The students, often seen like ants scurrying about in top shots, are just fuel for the money-making machine.

The real achievement of Kota Factory is that it inspired other shows (Crash Course, Shiksha Mandal) and films (12th Fail, All India Rank) to bring attention to the atrocities of the education system in which aptitude comes last.

Kota Factory 3 streams on Netflix.

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