Kota Factory Season 3 Review: In a scene from the new season of TVF's Kota Factory that dropped on June 20, Meena (Ranjan Raj) tells Shivangi, 'Aap NEET walon ko hum JEE walon ke problems samajh nahi aayenge.' (You NEET aspirants won't understand the problems of JEE candidates). Wow, this could win the record for the shortest duration a dialogue didn't age well. Of course, we cannot blame Kota Factory for ignoring the recent NEET papers leak controversy, which occurred long after the season was shot. However, this scene still serves as a reminder that TVF, once lauded for capturing the pulse of youth, has not been attuned to student issues lately. NEET controversies have never been solely a 2024 problem. The fall from grace of Kota Factory is quite disconcerting. Kota Factory Season 3 Review: Jitendra Kumar’s Netflix Show Highlighting Competitive Exam Realities Impresses Critics.

Five years have passed since Kota Factory began in 2019, and its main batch of 'students' are still worried about cracking JEE (some of the actors have started looking a bit old for their parts), or in the case of Shivangi, the NEET. Most of them are still in Jeetu Bhaiya's newly founded coaching class, AIMers, but the challenges continue not just for Vaibhav (Mayur More), Meena, Uday (Alam Khan), Vartika (Revathi Pillai), and Meenal (Urvi Singh), but also for their favourite Jeetu Bhaiya (Jitendra Kumar).

Watch the Trailer of Kota Factory Season 3:

If you remember, the previous season ended with the suicide of a student that shook up this fan-favourite teacher, though I also wanted to question his lack of foresight for not seeing it coming. The second season of Kota Factory also felt like a transactional phase for the show. The first season was too good, despite its optimistic love for the grind. The second season wasn't bad, but the cracks felt more evident.

Kota Factory Season 3 Review - Lessons Unlearnt

The second season was also where Jeetu Bhaiya moved from someone who was in a scene-stealing but supporting capacity to being a parallel lead. Instead of Kota Factory becoming more about the students and the struggles, the previous season gave equal space to both the students and the teacher. And that, in turn, also brought down the quality of the show.

A Still From Kota Factory Season 3

There is no doubt that the success of the first season of Kota Factory owes a lot to Jeetu Bhaiya and Jitendra Kumar's empathetic performance. JB became so iconic that many wished we had a teacher like him when we were kids. But Jeetu Bhaiya is also a character who was effective in smaller doses, like Korg in Thor: Ragnarok. But when he gets a more expansive space, the struggle to fit in his arc affects the rest of the pieces. Like Korg in Thor: Love and Thunder.

There's also this fact that there is growing dissent among the students in the country on how entrance exams are being conducted, how the soulless rat race is demeaning for the aspirants, with Kota itself often coming under scrutiny for the rise of student suicide rates. Remember, there was this report of hostels in the city trying to install suicide-proof fans in student rooms instead of tackling the actual issue of student pressure. One of the major criticisms I had for season 2 was its late acceptance of this concerning issue.

Kota Factory Season 3 Review - The Downfall of Jeetu Bhaiya

Unfortunately, the makers of Kota Factory haven't learned much from the mistakes of the previous, and in fact, have exacerbated them. Yes, the third season begins with Jeetu dealing with the 'depression' of feeling himself responsible for the kid's demise. However, the shallow handling of the matter makes it feel like he is playing the victim card on someone else's misfortune.

A Still From Kota Factory Season 3

By the end of the episode, he is back to being Jeetu Bhaiya, and Kota Factory is back to being what it is - an aspirational show that acknowledges the criticisms of the system but only tries to cover them on a surface level. The show became more about Jeetu Bhaiya, and his confusion about being Jeetu Bhaiya or Jeetu Sir, and less about his wards. Jeetu Sir, you were to be a scene-stealer, not someone who steals the whole show from your students. Kota Factory Season 2 Review: Jeetu Bhaiya and His Students Pass the Second Test With a Little More Than Grace Marks!

Kota Factory Season 3 Review - Everything is Gimmick!

By its third season, Kota Factory had become the 'Spirit of Mumbai' of OTT shows. It cribs about the student pressure and offers a weak commentary on the system's failure, but when someone posts a gregarious post praising the positive spirit of the tragedy, it is the first to like, share, and subscribe.

I mean, things are so bad that the aspects that made the show likeable and a game-changer in the first place have begun to feel like gimmicks. The black and white frames, which I thought were to represent how the coaching culture drained the colour out of students' lives, became just a visual palette. Vaibhav's pained long monologue, the overhead shots, the kachoris (that the subtitles keep referring as 'samosas' for some reason), Jeetu Bhaiya's formula-laced lectures have all turned into gimmicks. JB may have been given his own internal struggle, but he still remains the messiah who becomes almost deific that he could compete with 'Supreme Leader' now. Nearly all episodic issues - from Vaibhav's sibling jealousy to Meena's money troubles - are solved by a JB lecture. If JB is not available, then the task falls to someone else, like Shivangi or Pooja Ma'am (Tilotthama Shome).

A Still From Kota Factory Season 3

The show has become so obsessed with finding the next reason to bring out a motivational quote that it fails to develop any of the characters properly. The friendships feel stale, the relationships are stuck in a rut. I mean, it is three seasons down, and I still have no clue why Uday and Shivangi are a couple. I was excited about the fabulous Tilotthama Shome's involvement in the show, but she felt too underused.

So when many of these characters get closure in the final episode, I felt more of a relief for the show's ending rather than for the characters. When JB gets a tearful farewell, I wonder why I, as a viewer who has stuck with Jeetu Bhaiya and his students for three seasons and five years, am not feeling that emotion. What have you done, TVF? You have turned your own show into a 'factory'!

Kota Factory Season 3 Review -  Final Thoughts

It is sad to see Kota Factory end by becoming a shadow of its former self. The characters that were once endearing and relatable become superficially distant, and the once-lauded writing and direction become more gimmickry and gallery-pleasing. I wish we could have parted on more affable terms, Jeetu Bhaiya, only if you had actually put the students before you. Alas, that's never to be. The three seasons of Kota Factory are streaming on Netflix.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 20, 2024 09:39 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).