Kota Factory Season 3: Jitendra Kumar Maintains His Equilibrium With Impressive Control

Kota Factory Season 3: Vaibhav, Balmukund Meena and Uday Gupta, as thick of thieves, navigate the highly competitive the IIT coaching ecosystem, personal crises and their romantic (or, in one case, platonic) liaisons with Vartika, Shivangi and Meenal.

Kota Factory Season 3: Jitendra Kumar Maintains His Equilibrium With Impressive Control

A still from Kota Factory Season 3. (courtesy: YouTube)

Incessant prattle and the rattle of complex mathematical equations and problems run all the way through Season 3 of Kota Factory. To that extent, the TVF-produced Netflix series offers more of what we have come to expect from it.

But that isn't all there is to the five new episodes that take the struggles of boys and girls in the rough and tumble of Kota's IIT coaching universe forward. The not-so-secret sauce that went into Kota Factory was hitherto predominantly sweet and sour. Season 3 adds a tinge of pungency to the mix.

Several dramatic crescendos find their way into the plot. These aid in spicing up the show as it hurtles towards its finale - the all-important IIT-JEE Advanced Examination.

Growing up has its flip side. It comes with its share of awkward tumbles and bitter lessons. Kota Factory S3 seamlessly incorporates additional layers into its narrative tapestry without overtly tampering with its naturalistic core.

Between the occasionally excessive and the unmistakably essential, the season created by Raghav Subbu (who directed the ten episodes that constituted the first two seasons of the show) and producer Arunabh Kumar offers much that is insightful, illuminating and entertaining.

Delving into the unsettling pressures of keeping up with the curriculum and racing against time, the crushing stress of the impending exams and the gnawing fear of failing to fulfil the expectations of parents and teachers as D-Day draws nigh, the five fresh episodes take us deep into the minds and temperaments of Vaibhav, Meena, Uday, Vartika, Shivangi and Meenal.

Amid great emotional turmoil, sometimes bruising and sometimes life-altering but never needless, the drama of make-or-break personal decisions and exam-centre alarms in the IIT-JEE coaching hub of Kota still possesses sufficient meat. The fundamentals continue to be strong.

Each episode has at least one defining flashpoint. One of the boys faces a financial crunch and is forced to tutor a schoolboy for some extra cash, while another meets with an accident that threatens to put paid to his aspirations to take his IIT preparations to its logical end.

The third launches into a tirade - a monologue whose intensity his heightened by a camera that weaves circles around him - when the JEE date sheet arrives. To make matters worse, on the day of the exam he ends up in the wrong place. Learning, unlearning and tiding over crises is after all the name of the game for the aspirants.

Working with a script by Puneet Batra and Pravin Yadav, director Pratish Mehta casts the narrative net wider than usual and brings in elements that go a long way in throwing light on the thought processes of the coaching personnel, something that the series had not done until this point, certainly not to this extent.

Kota Factory S3 highlights the impact that the painstaking process of getting IIT and medical college aspirants battle-ready for crucial written tests and the constant harping on marks, ranks and methodologies has on Jeetu Bhaiya (Jitendra Kumar) and his colleagues.

The career moves that Jeetu Bhaiya and chemistry teacher Pooja (Tillotama Shome, whose presence among the coaching staff delivers a blow for gender representation in a hitherto largely male-dominated sphere) have to consider along the way receive as much attention as the tough calls that their students are required to make as they near the end of their stint in Kota and gear up for one final shot at glory.

Upfront, we catch Jeetu Bhaiya in the depths of a psychological trough. Shaken by a tragic incident, he goes into temporary hibernation. On his return, which has his students understandably elated, gives the centre's Math teacher Gagan (Rajesh Kumar) a mouthful over the question of how their coaching programme should be run.

Should potential toppers be segregated from the laggards and given special treatment? Jeetu and Gagan differ on that question and the sharp divergence threatens to drive a wedge between the two men, one of whom is in a fragile state of mind owing to matters that are of greater (and deadlier) import than the issue of pressing pedagogical decisions.

Jeetu Bhaiya figures out - if he hadn't already - that it isn't easy being a "brother" and an always available philosopher, rather than only a plain old professional teacher, to a large group of youngsters dealing with the pangs of learning the ropes and handling problems that they cannot confront and surmount on their own.

A widening seepage from the ceiling of Jeetu Bhaiya's living room bothers the Physics teacher - a metaphor for the pain points he is grappling with. Like the repairman who responds to his summons, Jeetu has help available in the personal and professional crunch situations that he faces.

Pooja, who has a way with words and people, steps in when things get out of hand for Jeetu. That apart, he seeks sessions with a seasoned therapist, Dr Sudha Vyas (Sohaila Kapur), who provides considered advice to the man.

While Jeetu Bhaiya's troubles and Pooja's misgivings about the prospect of Kota being overrun by mechanical teaching shops - coming at a time when the examination system is a complete mess, her concerns assume an urgent edge - form significant parts of the story, the focus of the plot is still principally on the students. Kota factory S3 is about their friendships and affairs, their mishaps and redemptions, goodbyes and new beginnings.

Vaibhav (Mayur More), Balmukund Meena (Ranjan Raj) and Uday Gupta (Alam Khan), as thick of thieves, navigate the highly competitive the IIT coaching ecosystem, personal crises and their romantic (or, in one case, platonic) liaisons with Vartika (Revathi Pillai), Shivangi (Ahsaas Channa) and Meenal (Urvi Singh).

They are all on a tightrope walk that calls for single-minded focus but each of the three boys is confronted with distractions in the form of their infatuations, insecurities and indiscretions. Hanging in there is a tall order - and that is what aggravates the challenges ahead of them.

The acting is once again in a wholly relatable vein despite the slew of emotions and tensions that come into play as important choices are contemplated and made, and goals are achieved or missed. Jitendra Kumar's Jeetu Bhaiya has to contend with more upheavals than he has had to do in the past. The actor, on his part, maintains his equilibrium with impressive control.

The addition of Tillotama Shome to the cast has an instantly salutary effect. As a voice of restraint, reason and empathy, her character serves as a sounding board for Jeetu Bhaiya, who stands for a combination of pragmatism and big brotherly solidarity, she delivers a sterling performance.

With one long outburst that takes the form of a prolonged unbroken monologue, besides other significant passages, Mayur More walks away with the show. But the support he receives from co-actors Ranjan Raj and Alam Khan is of no mean order. And that is exactly what a show that has lost none of the wind in its sails needed.


Jitendra Kumar, Mayur More, Ranjan Raj, Alam Khan, Revathi Pillai, Urvi Singh and Ahsaas Channa


Raghav Subbu