Kota Factory is one of the popular web series in the Hindi language directed by Raghav Subbu. The first episode of this series was released on Youtube and TVFPLAY on 16 April 2019. In this era of colourful television, this series is the first black and white web series released in India. It is a wonderful story of a guy depicted as Vaibhav Pandey who was fervently wishing to crack one of the toughest exams of the world, IIT – JEE. The web series was released in five parts starting from April and the last episode was released on 14th of May 2019. The series describes the views of various people regarding the city Kota in Rajasthan whose fame has spread worldwide for imparting coaching for IIT entrance exam. Also, it covers the other side of the coin by displaying the things which are not realized by people who are not living or rather studying in Kota.
The names of the five parts in which the series was released are:
1. “Inventory” released on 16 April 2019
2. “Assembly Line” released on 23 April 2019
3. “Optimization” released on 30 April 2019
4. “Shutdown” released on 7 May 2019
5. “Overhaul” released on 14 May 2019
Inventory is the first part of this series and hence it sets the background of the story and the Protagonist. The plot starts with an overview of the Maheshwari Classes which was known in Kota as the best institute in imparting IIT coaching since the past 30 years. There is a description of Agarwal Classes that sowed the seeds of IIT coaching in that small city of Kota which have today grown and scattered into various coaching institutes. The name Maheshwari classes used in the series is a metaphor to Allen Career Institute while the name Agarwal classes is a metaphor to Bansal Classes. It is strongly believed that all the coaching materials circulating all over Kota are more or less rooted in Bansal Classes. The protagonist of the series is a boy named Vaibhav Pandey who had secured 90 % in his SSC exams and was keen to start his preparation for IIT Entrance Examination. Hence from April itself, he joined a local coaching institute in Itarsy(Madhya Pradesh) where he lived in. There also he proved to be a topper so he was much confident about his preparation but as soon as he gave a test series that is conducted by various institutes that are conducted on All India level where students from across the nation are free to take part in, he realized where he was standing at national level and hence decided to Join Kota thus leaving that local institute in order to get a better exposure and competition.
As described earlier the fame of Maheshwari Classes in Kota was quite widespread and he too being convinced by the big banners and hoardings of Maheshwari Classes decided to join the same. But the institute refused to take him in mid-year as they thought he won`t be able to cover much in that short time and then suggested him to join their institute after giving Entrance test of that institute in 12th class only instead of joining in the mid-year in 11th. But he was not among the one who could be stopped by such small things, he was highly excited and motivated for his selection in IIT. So he decided to join Prodigy classes that were not as good as Maheshwari but he wished to remain in Kota for studying the rest of 11th standard as he was quite impressed by the atmosphere of Kota. There he was allotted a dummy school where he was not compelled to go to school and he could go there just for exams and practicals as he could carry on with rest of his studies in his coaching institute only. As his admission was done late after half of the year had already passed away, he was allotted the batch that was allotted to the students who secured lesser ranks in their coaching institute.
He did not like this partiality done towards him and so he argued with some senior faculty over there and taking account of the fighting spirit of this boy, that senior faculty of Physics gave him some assignment which he was supposed to complete within 24 hours but that paper had questions of varied high difficulty levels of which 42 questions were borrowed from some recognized books of Physics while the rest 8 questions were made by that senior Faculty himself whose name was Jitu Bhaiya. He tried to solve those questions with the help of his roommates but was not quite successful but he discovered that those questions were from various books and so in just a single night, he with the help of his friends solved all those 42 questions that were not made by his faculty himself. But when he presented those solutions to his faculty, he was caught red-handed but the faculty was quite impressed with him as he had that fighting spirit at least of completing those questions by not sleeping one night.
Being impressed by his devotion that faculty upgraded him to some higher batch than what he was in and from that day, that Jitu Bhaiya remained not only his faculty but also his counsellor. He used to take complete care of all his students and helped them in facing the problems that they faced while leaving away from family and parents in Kota and preparing for one of the toughest examinations.
2. “Assembly Line”
Now, as Vaibhav Pandey had joined the hostel from the mid-year, he was quite ignorant with the hostel habits and not quite settled with the conditions therein. Also, he had missed the orientations conducted by his institute. Hence, he had a lot of problems with the mess food, with the Aunt in whose house he was living as a paying guest and also with the drinking water available there. Luckily, he had got very good friends there and it was with the help of those friends that he was able to come over those problems and start studying in a better way. Also, his counsellor, Jitu Bhaiya as discussed above helped him in these things by giving some motivational words. Some of the words that completely changed the lifestyle of this disturbed student are: “ Any habit can be borne as well as destroyed in 21 days. One should make his problems as a dare to him as a dare has a direct connection with ego. Ego has many adverse effects but an advantage of ego is that thing start seeming do-able and a fighting spirit is generated”.
From that very day, he started taking all his problems as a dare. For example, he was unable to remain steady at a place while learning so he took a dare that he would not stand up come what may happen. He got full support from his friends too in testing this dare as they at times created some critical kind of situations that could test how firm he was towards his dare and removing his vices. The same happened with the mess food too. Also, instead of wasting money on bottles of mineral water, he started trying to get habituated towards the water available there.
Thus, this part of the series gives very good preaching and moral that a firmly determined man can do anything and can get away easily with all the vices present in him be it any. Just the thing required is that he should have a firm determination.
Now having got rid of non-academic problems, Vaibhav started enjoying studies a lot and started studying for a very good rank as any sincere student does during his/her JEE preparation. As time passed a time came when he was supposed to learn inorganic chemistry. When he learned this subject very first time, he found that it was the easiest subject among all the subjects and demanded the least time to solve its assignment. He was that confident or rather say over-confident about this subject that he started solving the assignment of that subject even without having a look at what was taught in the class. But in the next lecture of inorganic chemistry when that Daily Practice Assignment was discussed in class by the concerned faculty, he was completely baffled at the answers given by the faculty as out of 15 questions, his answers to only 2 questions were correct.
He got quite disturbed with his score and was very confused with the answers and so he started arguing with his subject teacher for some questions. The subject teacher did not provide an answer that was satisfactory to him. He was just told in a few questions that the answers to them were just like that only as an exception to scientific rules and general rules and trends of Chemistry! This lasted for few more days but finally, a time came when he completely lost his faith from inorganic chemistry and that subject had become quite boring for him along with the concerned faculty.
Hence, he started a movement to change the faculty of Inorganic Chemistry of their batch and as a part of the successful attempt, the faculty was replaced by some other faculty quite better than who was before. The faculty was quite good but ultimately at the end of the day he was quite irritated with that subject that there is depiction of one scene in a movie where after a class of Inorganic chemistry, Vaibhav is so much frustrated that he creates a havoc in mess on that day and a crowd is gathered around him and he was speaking derogatory words for this subject of Inorganic Chemistry. He was quite convinced with the fact that Inorganic Chemistry is something that has been frustrating many math-physics loving people preparing for Joint Entrance Examination in the long run.
So ultimately, he reached his counselor, Jitu Bhaiya, who steered him towards the right track and also explained that it is not so difficult to crack IIT Entrance Examination without Inorganic Chemistry. So finally he decides to get away from that subject of Inorganic Chemistry and completely direct his focus on things he needed to understand to crack his entrance examination.
Thus, this plot preaches us that be it any moment of life we should not focus on what we do not have or what has gone away instead we should be quite happy and progressive towards what we possess to generate maximum efficient output.
This excerpt describes how students of that coaching institute enjoy the time that is given to them as a vacation by their counsellor for five days during which they were having their practical exams in school. After this vacation, they were having their batch reshuffling test in just 13 days. A Batch shuffling test in any coaching institute is very important and crucial for every student, be it a topper or even a low scorer. Everyone studies for it rigorously for getting upgraded to a higher batch to get better competition and those who are already in the top batches are under pressure for remaining in that batch itself. The batch name, indeed, creates a kind of impression and it is a matter of prestige to get qualified for the star batch of your institute. If one gets selected in the star batch then he gets some special respect from other batchmates as well as various faculties. This is an implicit weakness of Kota Coaching or rather at every coaching class where such tests create so much pressure on students at the time of these batch shuffling examinations that they sometimes lose their natural performance in pressure.
During their holidays, they do a kind of JUGAAD and copy lab readings and complete their lab journals in just a day or two so that they can enjoy the rest of the days in exploring Kota. Also during these days, the protagonist, as well as his two friends, fall in love with girls (a kind of thing common at that age). So they decide to spend those three days of relaxation with them and enjoy with them. One of those girls was preparing for the entrance test for the foremost institute of Kota so that she could enrol herself in that institute in 12th for her further JEE preparation and the other two were willing to have a hangout. So the corresponding boys arranged and managed themselves accordingly and thus four of them went outside while other two of those six(three boys and three girls) decided to remain at their residing place and study. The boy tried to impress that studious girl by teaching her some of the topics that were going to come in the Entrance test and she was not good at them. During these days, he found few topics that he too was not comfortable with so to teach those topics, he first learnt them from videos so that he could teach (or say, girlfriends). But at the end of the day, one of them realized that he would not be able to continue a long term relationship with her as both of them had different plans for their further life. So after the end of the holidays, the boys were discussing their experiences. The one who felt that he would not be able to continue being in a relationship with his crush further realised that instead of wasting those holidays with her, he should have revised staying at his residence only like Vaibhav Pandey remained with her crush. At that time a good captive dialogue of the series comes into action to conclude the series that “Padhai Bhi Kabhi Interesting Ho Sakti hai, Bas Partner Sahi Milna Chahiye.” as he had made a lot of memories while learning and teaching his female friend.
This is the concluding part of the web series that is discussed so far. Finally, after preparing together for the entrance test of Maheshwari Classes, the protagonist Vaibhav goes with his love, to give the entrance test. Meanwhile, this information that some of the toppers of Prodigy classes had appeared at the entrance test of Maheshwari classes reached the former, and consequently the director of Prodigy Classes called the concerning students, where he promised those rankers of his classes that they would get special treatment as well as a handsome scholarship if they do not go to Maheshwari Classes and remain in Prodigy. Few of them decided to overlook those instructions, while some of them decided to remain in their institute only to avail special service.
By the time, the result of the entrance test of Maheshwari Classes was also declared and they were heartbreaking news for our protagonist Vaibhav Pandey that he got selected in one of the decent batches over there while his crush, whom he had taught during the entrance test could not qualify that test. He felt so bad for her that he did not even have the guts of talking or facing her, wondering how sad she would be and crying in the corner of the room. So one of his friends managed to reach her to find out how she was and found that she was quite normal and happy about the selection of Vaibhav. She also told Ms. Crush to make a phone call to Vaibhav and also made her realize how special she was to him. The friend also added that he, in her absence, had never studied so well which he did in a short span, but which included the presence of her who was quite special to him.
In spite of getting selected in the institute which was his target institute at the time when he had come to Kota, Vaibhav was thinking of remaining in Prodigy with his counselor cum best friend Jitu Bhaiya. When Jitu Bhaiya came to know about his decision, he showed Vaibhav the real picture and helped him in making a fair decision. Vaibhav also asked that in spite of him not being there, why was he suggesting him to leave the institute for Maheshwari. Then he received a reply befitting a true Guru, who believes in the welfare of his students and he would more be happier in watching him qualify IIT Exam with a better rank instead of binding him emotionally with himself. After such a logical and life-changing debate with him, he finally made his mind to go for Maheshwari classes. He as a Gurudakshina went to Jitu Bhaiya`s house the very next day with a handful of gifts but then again, he received an answer that befits an ideal Guru who does not collect gifts from the students that are brought by the money of their parents, instead he advised him to study hard and reach a place where he with his own money could buy gifts for his teacher that was more valuable than what he had brought at that day and that will be a real gift for him.
Finally, he had a farewell meeting with his friends whom he had befriended during his stay at Prodigy Classes in Kota along with his crush. The series ends, showing Vaibhav shifting to Maheshwari Classes and guiding the people who were new to Kota away from their parents about how to manage the problems over there which he had faced when starting his journey in Kota
Thus, as a whole, this series of Kota Factory is an overall portrait of the situation and teaching style of Kota and methods to overcome the problems faced at the beginning of a successful journey. It also describes the importance of a good and guiding teacher in the changing life of a person. The story does not depict his journey of Class 12 and whether he achieves the IIT Dream or not. These things shall be revealed in the second season of this series which is expected to release very soon.